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Jewish Territorials (Kosher Cook)

Volume 529: debated on Tuesday 29 June 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for War how many members of the Jewish faith will be attending the annual camp of the 411th (Sussex) Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery, Territorial Army, over the August Bank holiday week; and why an expert kosher cook is required.

If he is not required as an expert kosher cook, and he is required in his hotel where, for religious purposes, they must have kosher cooks—because the hotel is expected to provide this sort of catering—and where there is no one else to do the job, cannot my right hon. Friend try to find somebody else?

I should be only too glad to help in this case, but the fact remains that a unit must go to camp as a unit. Once we start transferring and excusing people, then the unit, instead of going as a unit, goes as half a unit, with a lot of people having changed their dates, and the whole point of the camp fails.

Would the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the fact that a cook of this nature is very difficult to replace, particularly at that time of the year, and that the cook is required for the purpose of providing the type of food which is eaten on religious grounds? Will he see whether he can do something about this? Will he try to transfer the date or to make other arrangements in order to help with this problem because the hotel cannot get anyone for the job, especially for a fortnight or some such period as that?

I am aware of the difficulties of the hotel management and I sympathise with them in this problem, but it is something which comes to employers through National Service and it often comes to individuals as well. I have my duty and it is that, apart from quite exceptional cases, the arrangements have to run.