Transport Difficulties.

Oral Answers to Questions — Coal Production. – in the House of Commons on 17th December 1919.

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Mr. DOYLE (by Private Notice):

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether 'he is aware that the serious shortage of domestic coal in the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne is causing grave anxiety to those responsible for the welfare of the populace, and that at the present moment thousands of private orders remain unfulfilled with no immediate prospect of an improvement; and whether, in view of the short time intervening between now arid the Christmas holidays, he will take immediate steps to relieve the situation?

Photo of Sir Auckland Geddes Sir Auckland Geddes , Basingstoke

No, Sir. I have received no complaints from Newcastle-upon-Tyne on this matter. Inquiries will at once be made, and any steps that appear necessary to deal with the situation found to exist will be taken.

Photo of Mr Alfred Yeo Mr Alfred Yeo , Poplar South Poplar

Has not the right hon. Gentleman received complaints from other places?

Photo of Sir Auckland Geddes Sir Auckland Geddes , Basingstoke

Yes. I receive complaints regularly from every part of the country—from every large place—but Newcastle-upon-Tyne is the only one from which I have received no complaints.

Photo of Mr Alfred Yeo Mr Alfred Yeo , Poplar South Poplar

Are you doing anything to remedy them?

Photo of Sir Auckland Geddes Sir Auckland Geddes , Basingstoke

Certainly. Though complaints have come in, no actual shortage has arisen anywhere except in the area of the Great Eastern Railway. It is not a question of coal available. It is a question of transport. This matter has been continually before us week in and week out for months, but up to this moment I have received no complaints from Newcastle.

Mr. THORNE:

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the question of transport is playing havoc with all the industries of the country?

Photo of Sir Auckland Geddes Sir Auckland Geddes , Basingstoke

The difficulties with regard to transport are nothing new. They have existed ever since the first year of the War. What is playing havoc with the transport is the sudden change in the industrial position due to the eight-hours day. This applies all over the country, and until the transport arrangements adjust themselves to meet the new conditions the difficulties must continue.