May I thank the Prime Minister for responding, at least on the second occasion, to the request we made to have this positive statement, of a kind, made by the Secretary of State this afternoon? Regrettably, we find the statement extremely disquieting. We feel that the Government's standing back from the situation will embarrass many essential services quite considerably.
The most important part of the statement, perhaps, is the part where the Secretary of State rejects any Government-organised priorities. Is he aware that hospitals and ambulance services, and other essential services, are today either short in supply or being held to ransom? These matters have been recorded in the press.
Is the Secretary of State aware that we reject the idea, enunciated by the Minister of State this afternoon, that the railways should be subject to a cut in oil? That is a complete nonsense. To withdraw railway services would make the congestion on the roads greater and increase the demand for petrol.
Is the Secretary of State also aware that many farmers are desperately anxious now for diesel oil, because the seasons cannot stand still and it is important to get on with essential services?
I appeal to the Secretary of State to withdraw the part of his statement to which I have referred, and to look seriously at trying to help indentifiable parts of our economy.