Farmers (Petrol Allowances)

Oral Answers to Questions — Fuel and Power – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th October 1949.

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Mr. De la Bère:

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether, with a view to reducing the number of forms that farmers have to fill in, he will abolish Form R,(MS)6 for red petrol for tractors, since the penalties for improper use of red petrol render unnecessary the restriction of supply for its use in farm tractors.

Photo of Mr Sidney Dye Mr Sidney Dye , Norfolk South Western

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he has considered the possibility of simplifying the procedure under which farmers apply for petrol; and what changes in the present arrangements he proposes.

Photo of Mr Hugh Gaitskell Mr Hugh Gaitskell , Leeds South

It would not be practicable to de-ration red petrol for agricultural purposes only, and I am satisfied, after consulting the Standing Advisory Committee, that to take red petrol off the ration altogether would inevitably be accompanied by a substantial increase in consumption which we cannot afford. I am, however, arranging that as from the rationing period beginning on 1st March, 1950, farmers will be able to apply for all their petrol allowances, including those for private cars, on one form instead of two. Moreover, the rationing period will, from the same date, be extended from three to six months. Farmers will thus have to complete only two forms a year to cover all their requirements.

Mr. De la Bère:

Will not the Minister further consider doing away with this form, in view of the fact that it handicaps farmers when we want every ounce of food we can get from every acre of land; and that although this may be the last Question it is the most important one of the day?

Photo of Mr Hugh Gaitskell Mr Hugh Gaitskell , Leeds South

I think the hon. Gentleman is stretching his imagination too far in suggesting that filling in two forms a year is really too much for the farmers.