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House Of Commons Catering (Report)

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 7 April 1949

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will indicate the attitude of the Government to the special report from the Select Committee on the Kitchen and Refreshment Rooms, and particularly to the Committee's recommendation in paragraph 14 that the cost of the staff and equipment of the refreshment department should become a charge upon public funds.

The attitude of the Government to this report, including paragraph 14, was shown in the Debate on Supply on 24th February of this year, as well as in past debates in the House and especially in my reply to the Question put by my hon. Friend the Member for West Walthamstow (Mr. McEntee) on 5th November last.

Does the right hon. Gentleman think that it is in accordance with the Chancellor's Budget speech for the cost of equipping and maintaining the refreshment department and the wages of the staff, totalling about £50,000, to be borne by the taxpayer?

Would not the acceptance of this report in the slightest degree involve a Supplementary Estimate, and why does not the Financial Secretary apply to it the ban on Supplementary Estimates imposed yesterday?

The hon. Gentleman, who himself is a member of the Kitchen Committee, and who I assume was a party to the representations made to the Chancellor when a subvention was asked for, should know that no Supplementary Estimate will be needed this year. It will come into the Estimates for 1950–51, if it comes at all.

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that I proposed an Amendment to this proposal and that I voted against the Kitchen Committee's report?

Is it not the case that in almost every year in the last 100 years the public have, in fact, paid the deficits on the Kitchen Committee's accounts?