Coal Production (Stoke-on-Trent).

Oral Answers to Questions — Aliens. – in the House of Commons at on 11 November 1919.

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Photo of Mr Samuel Finney Mr Samuel Finney , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

50.

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to complaints made by ratepayers of the county borough of Stoke-on-Trent, and also by the council of the borough, respecting the way that the Coal Controller's Department has disregarded their repeated applications for proper supplies of suitable coals for their gas and electricity works; whether he is aware that the quantity has been seriously reduced: that the supplies they had arranged to receive from local collieries have been diverted and taken elsewhere out of the district; that inferior coals have been brought all the way from Durham at an extra charge of 8s. 3d. per ton; and that this coal from Durham has been tested and proved much inferior and, for gas and by-product-making purposes, shows a further loss of 15s. 11d. per ton, making a proved loss of £l 4s. 2d. per ton; whether he is aware that the corporation is not allowed to purchase coals direct from the collieries and that the coals are supplied through agents appointed by the Coal Controller's Department, which entails a further loss to make profits for middlemen; whether he is aware that Stoke-on-Trent is a purely industrial community, already heavily rated, and that the loss due to the bad arrangements indicated above add to the burden of the rates and is causing discontent and unrest; and; whether he can arrange for the corporation to obtain their coal supplies front I cal collieries as before?

The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Bridge-man):

I have been asked to reply. My right hon. Friend's attention has been called to complaints with regard to supplies of coal for the Stoke-on-Trent Gas and Electricity Works, but I understand that both works are receiving supplies su[...]cient to meet their requirements. I explained in reply to a question by the hon. Member on Tuesday last why it has been necessary to send occasional consignments of Durham coal to meet emergencies created by the insufficient output from local pits. I cannot, however, accept the statements made as to the inferiority of Durham coal. I may add that it has recent'y been possble to restore a substantial quantity of local coal to the Stoke-on-Trent Electricity Works, and that the engineer has expressed satisfaction with the efforts which have been made to assist the undertaking. It is not the fact that the undertakings are required by the Coal Controller to purchase coal through middlemen, but I understand that certain of the fuel for the electricity works passes, through a wasbery belonging to a firm which also acts as a firm of coal factors.

Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

When is this practice of going to Durham to get coal when there is quite as good coal, or Letter, in Staffordshire going to cease? And when is the Coal Controller going to cease to interfere with natural supplies?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

The whole matter is kept under consideration. If the hon. and gallant Member will refer to the answer given on Tuesday last he will there see the reasons actuating the Controller's actions.

Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Is this a sample of the efficiency of the Coal Controller?

Photo of Mr William Bridgeman Mr William Bridgeman , Oswestry

We must get coal from somewhere.