Coke Prices (Increase)

Oral Answers to Questions — Coal – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st January 1955.

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Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Kidderminster 12:00 am, 31st January 1955

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what considerations caused him to authorise the recent increase in domestic coke prices; what is the average increase; and which areas are affected by it.

Photo of Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks , Chichester

The reasons were additions to the cost of transporting the coke and increases in the costs of retail distribution. The average increase is about 2s. 9d. per ton and all areas South of a line from the Wash to the Severn are affected.

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Kidderminster

Have not Her Majesty's Government recently announced their support for a policy of clean air? As coke is the principal smokeless fuel we envisage employing, and as the supply of coke from the gas boards has steadily been increasing over the last two years, does not my hon. Friend agree that we should endeavour to reduce its price and not increase it?

Photo of Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks , Chichester

A reduction in the price of coke, as well as that of coal, is the constant desire of my right hon. Friend.

Photo of Mr Charles Gibson Mr Charles Gibson , Wandsworth Clapham

In addition to paying some attention to the suggestion which has just been made, will the Minister pay considerable attention to increasing the supply of coke? In my part of London, we have to wait four to eight weeks before an order can be delivered. That is much too long and causes householders a good deal of difficulty.

Photo of Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks , Chichester

There is no shortage of coke. If the hon. Member will give me particulars, I shall be pleased to look into his complaint.

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

Would it not be better if the Parliamentary Secretary told his hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) that the right method is to approach the petrol companies who recently increased the cost of petrol, which means increased costs to the nationalised industries, with the result that prices will go up again?

Photo of Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks , Chichester

No, the increases were made for a variety of different causes.

Photo of Mr Alfred Robens Mr Alfred Robens , Blyth

In view of the campaign for clean air and of the Government's intention in that regard, may I ask whether the Parliamentary Secretary will, firstly, consult closely with the Gas Council about the supply of coke, and, secondly, watch the prices very carefully?

Photo of Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks Hon. Lancelot Joynson-Hicks , Chichester

My right hon. Friend has already taken that advice.