Pottery Industry, 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

51.

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the great inconvenience and loss which is occurring in the pottery industry, Stoke-on-Trent, owing to a serious shortage of ball clay consequent upon the failure of the Ministry of Transport to provide transport facilities; whether he is aware that the clay is loaded into trucks at Newton Abbot and forwarded to Gloucester, where it is unloaded and then loaded again into small boats and forwarded by canal to its destination; that this method of transport cannot keep the factories supplied with clay; that the factories in consequence of the delay are being compelled to suspend operations, one important factory having already done so; whether he can say that the workpeople who are thrown out of employment for want of clay will be entitled to out-of-work donation; whether he is aware that the Ministry of Transport admit their failure to provide adequate railway transport facilities, although the railways are under the con- trol of the Government and Minister of Transport; and whether any steps can be devised for meeting this difficulty?

The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of TRANSPORT (Sir Rhys Williams):

I have been asked to reply to this question. As I informed the hon. Member on the 4th November, I am aware that ball clay from Newton Abbot to Stoke-on-Trent is being conveyed by rail from the former place to Gloucester, and is then being forwarded to its destination by water. In existing circumstances it is to the general interest that wherever possible traffic should be conveyed by water, and I am not prepared to agree that the ball clay should be carried by rail the whole distance. If that course were adopted the additional wagons necessary could only be provided at the expense of other commodities, since the total wagons available are insufficient to meet demands under present circumstances. I have consulted my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour, who informs me that probably the workpeople thrown out of employment for the reasons stated in the question would be entitled to the out-of-work donation, but the decision in each case must necessarily depend on the particular circumstances.

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

If there is this shortage of !wagons cannot any of the wagons employed to bring coal from Durham to Staffordshire be employed to bring the clay from Gloucester?