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Waiters

Volume 245: debated on Thursday 20 November 1930

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10.

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the grave state of unemployment and of the number of foreign waiters employed by the large hotels and restaurants in this country, she will consider starting training centres for men of British nationality to become waiters so as to provide entirely British staffs for large restaurants?

In addition to the training afforded in the catering industry itself, the London County Council conduct a school for waiters and there are some other establishments of a similar kind. My Department have arranged specially with the London County Council school for the training of a number of men and the possibility of some further extension of the training of waiters or other catering trade workers is under consideration. As regards the possibility of displacing foreign waiters, it is important to bear in mind that they have for the most part been resident here for many years. New entrants are not admitted to this country except under strict limitations both as to number and period of stay which fully safeguard the position of persons already resident here. Those who are admitted, with very few exceptions, come in either under Agreements for Exchange, or for the admission of student employés for a period not exceeding 12 months.

20.

asked the Minister of Labour how many foreign waiters are in employment in this country; and how many British waiters are out of employment here?

I regret that I have no information as to the number of foreign waiters employed in this country. At 27th October, 1930, there were on the registers of Employment Exchanges in Great Britain 8,571 applicants of all nationalities classified as waiters. Separate figures for waiters of British nationality are not available. This figure includes barmen, canteen workers and restaurant counter hands.

Does the Minister not have to grant permission to foreign waiters to come here, and how is it that she has not the information asked for?

On a previous question I replied to that point. We do not, as a matter of fact, admit foreigners just now, but, as I have said, a large number of foreigners have been in this country for many years, and they do not come under my Department.

Will the Minister take steps to see that a census is taken next spring of foreign waiters?