Oral Answers to Questions — Domestic Coal Supplies

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th May 1944.

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Photo of Mr George Mathers Mr George Mathers , Linlithgowshire 12:00 am, 16th May 1944

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what prospect there is of householders receiving the restricted maximum quantity of 15 cwts. of coal during the months of May and June; and what is the weekly quantity per customer being received by merchants at present.

Photo of Mr Tom Smith Mr Tom Smith , Normanton

Subject to possible changes in the supply and transport position there is, in my opinion, a reasonable prospect that in the regions where the maximum quantity is 15 cwt. for the two months of May and June, the majority of the consumers who require coal for consumption or stocking should be able to obtain that quantity. Supplies to merchants vary in different districts, but for the regions concerned they average about 1.1 cwt. per week per premises.

Photo of Mr George Mathers Mr George Mathers , Linlithgowshire

Does not the Minister realise the impossibility of getting 15 cwts. in two months out of what he quotes as 1.1 cwt. per week? Is he further aware that in the majority of cases the merchants do not get sufficient supplies to enable them to deliver as much as 1 cwt. per week? In that case, is it not improper to give people the impression that they can get 15 cwts. in two months?

Photo of Mr Tom Smith Mr Tom Smith , Normanton

I think not, Sir.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Edinburgh East

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the supplies of coal to merchants have been actually cut down at a time when the public are led to believe that they are going to have more? This has resulted in very great difficulty in some places where merchants have not been able to supply even 1 cwt. a week.

Photo of Mr Tom Smith Mr Tom Smith , Normanton

It is perfectly true to say that supplies were cut down owing to the limited amount available a couple of months ago, but the position has certainly improved since then.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

In view of the fact that last year the House of Commons rejected a rationing scheme for householders in this country, would the hon. Gentleman ask his right hon. and gallant Friend to take an early opportunity of informing the House of Commons under what authority any of this rationing is done?