Coal Industry Dispute (Fuel Supplies)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th February 1972.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge 12:00 am, 7th February 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a further statement on the steps taken to maintain essential fuel supplies, particularly to the elderly and to invalids, during the coal mining dispute.

Photo of Mr John Davies Mr John Davies , Knutsford

As announced on the first day of the strike, we have enlisted the help of coal merchants and the National Coal Board, in association with local authorities and the medical profession, to ensure that priority is given to essential services and to households with special claims including those of the elderly and sick, subject, of course, to the co-operation of the mineworkers.

Skilful management by the electricity generating boards and public response to the appeal for economy have made it possible to maintain electricity supplies at reduced voltage but the C.E.G.B. has had to give warning of possible power cuts.

Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge

I welcome that reply. would my right hon. Friend confirm that if the situation worsens the Government will continue to ensure the necessary priority for pensioners, who depend so much on solid fuel supplies?

Photo of Mr John Davies Mr John Davies , Knutsford

The Government will pay careful regard to the needs of pensioners and others who for various reasons rely greatly on these supplies.

Photo of Mr Don Concannon Mr Don Concannon , Mansfield

Would the Secretary of State now like publicly to say "Thank you" to those much maligned miners' pickets who are working full time for nothing to ensure that these supplies get out? Little reference has been made to those striking miners who are working for nothing in their own time to make sure that supplies get to these people.

Photo of Mr John Davies Mr John Davies , Knutsford

I have no hesitation in going on record as expressing my appreciation of the help which the mineworkers have given in this respect. That does not alter the fact that in other respects, as the hon. Gentleman knows, quite the reverse has been the case.

Photo of Mr Alexander Eadie Mr Alexander Eadie , Midlothian

May we assist the right hon. Gentleman? He is concerned to safeguard essential supplies. Has he seen the headlines in the Evening Standard this afternoon saying that there will be no power supplies? May we assist him by asking him to influence his Cabinet colleagues to make a settlement with the miners and give them more cash?

Photo of Mr John Davies Mr John Davies , Knutsford

As I said in my original reply, there is a possibility of cuts in power supplies.