§ 37. Commander King-Hall
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he is aware that the availability of cut flowers in cities has an aesthetic value which makes a substantial contribution to the morale and cheerfulness of the people when displayed in houses and offices; and whether he will consider making arrangements whereby flowers may be sent by rail when space is available which would otherwise not be occupied?
Major Lloyd George
That is not an easy question to answer, as the hon. Gentleman well knows. The best way to convince anyone that a thing is good is to get him to try it.
§ Following is the statement:
§ As 1st February, 1943, full meal canteens were in operation serving 226 collieries employing 215,205 men. In addition, full meal canteens are under construction at 151 collieries employing 124,601 men and in various stages of preparation at 107 collieries employing 99,009 men. Altogether, full meal provision will thus have been made for about 60 per cent. of the men employed in the industry, such proportion representing the present known extent of the demand from the men for this kind of service. Progress is of course affected by the shortage of building labour, but it is hoped that the completion of this programme of full meal canteens will have been substantially effected by the autumn of this year. A table of comparative figures is given below:
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport (Mr. Noel-Baker)
I sympathise with my hon. and gallant Friend's purpose, but I regret that his proposal is open to a number of practical objections. Apart from other considerations, the demands on the railways for the conveyance of essential traffic are so heavy that, on this ground alone, I should not feel justified in relaxing the present prohibition on the transport of flowers by rail.
§ Commander King-Hall
Does the hon. Gentleman realise that at present it is impossible to send a small basket of flowers by rail but a passenger can carry them in his luggage?
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I am afraid that transport requires so much labour that we really cannot permit it. Apart from that, I think the hon. and gallant Gentleman has not perhaps seen the last Order made controlling the transport of flowers by passengers.
§ Sir Alfred Beit
Does the hon. Gentleman seriously contend that suburban passenger trains are so very overloaded that they could not carry some of this traffic?
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
We have to regard the business of flower-growing as a whole. We cannot favour one set of people at the expense of another.