asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that, despite the agreement arising from Report No. 13 of the National Board for Prices and Incomes, brewers are evading the spirit of the agreement by increasing charges in their managed houses in non-public bars, and increasing the practice of not providing public houses with public bars; and what action he will take to deal with this situation.
I have no evidence to suggest that brewers are evading the spirit of the agreement in either of the ways suggested by my hon. Friend. My Department is in close touch with the Brewers' Society on the working of the agreement.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is plenty of evidence to show that this is taking place? I will make it available to him pretty quickly if he does not know about it. On the other point, will my right hon. Friend make representations to the Brewers' Society that when some of us are called to the bar we prefer the unpretentiousness of the public bar and are more concerned with price and quality than with the knick-knacks on the walls?
I can only say that I sympathise with that last remark. I have, however, made an agreement with the Brewers' Society and I have no evidence of the kind suggested by my hon. Friend. If he has any evidence, I will carefully look at it.
Would not the Minister agree that the brewing industry has done everything possible to comply with the undertaking which was given to him? Would he not further agree that the attention of his hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Ellis) might better be directed to the much higher prices charged in houses leased to free undertakers by the Bristol Corporation?