26 NOVEMBER 1937, Page 18

[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.]

Slit,—Mr. H. B. Wilson, hon. sec. of the Western Temperance League, asks for my authority for stating that the larger the profits made by the managers of State-owned public-houses at Carlisle the better the authorities are pleased. Councillor W. J. Irving, of Workington, a member of the Church of England and of the Labour Party, after a special investigation into conditions at Carlisle, wrote :

" There is the keenest competition between the public-house managers, and many of them have told me that their success or failure depends on sales. I am told by the managers that when sales drop they are immediately threatened with a reduction of staff, and in the event of continued decrease the manager himself has to face a reduction in salary."

Sir Percival Phillips, in his report on the operation of State Control at Carlisle, quotes two managers as follows :

(1) The temperance plea is sheer humbug. The State is in the business for profit, and the more drink we sell the better the Board is pleased. If profits fall in one week they want to know the reason why.

(2) The whole scheme of management is based on that of a certain well-known private firm—profit only.

An editorial in the West Cumberland News of September 25th last says : " There is an air of minginess about some of the inns suggesting that the piling up of profits is the main aim of the State Control scheme."

It is difficult to reconcile Mr. Wilson's statement that managers are told to be careful not to supply intoxicants to those who have had more than is good for them with the admission of a man in a police-court case at Carlisle on November 5th last that he drank five pints of ale in five minutes for a wager on top of nine or ten pints consumed