HC Deb 22 March 1904 vol 132 c395

I beg to ask the hon. Member for Chorley, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, having regard to the fact that a sum of £51,400 for coal and firewood for public buildings in Great Britain, under Class 1, Vote 9, Sub-head E, represents an increase of £1,650 on the previous year, will he explain the cause of the excess, and state when the coal contract was signed, and for what term.

LORD BALCARRES (Lancashire, Chorley)

The increase was to provide against anticipated rises in the prices of Welsh steam coal and coke, and also to meet augmented consumption due to the expansion of the public Departments. There is no general contract for the supply of fuel. Over 200 contracts are involved. There are separate contracts for the various descriptions of fuel required in the various parts of the country in which the public buildings are situated. The contracts are generally for one year and run from various dates, but are nearly all made in the summer.