§ 81. Mr. RICHARDS
asked the Home Secretary whether the Committee on Coal Supplies are inquiring into the reason for the short time worked at a number of South Wales collieries; and whether he will instruct the Committee to ascertain and publish a list of the British ships engaged in carrying cargo between foreign ports and how many of them were engaged in the export of coal from British ports prior to the War?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Pretyman)
I understand that the Committee 481 have had before them the question of the short time worked in certain South Wales collieries and that one of the causes is the shortage of tonnage. I doubt if any useful purpose would be served by publishing a list of the ships at present engaged in carrying cargo between foreign ports. A licence has to be obtained in each case, and one of the main considerations in determining whether licences can be granted is the need of tonnage in the United Kingdom.
§ 85. Sir J. LONSDALE
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that, owing to the shipping freight obtaining, Irish consumers are required to pay excessive prices for coal, and that in Belfast the war emergency committee of the corporation have failed to induce the coal merchants, during the War, to agree to charge a reasonable sum for profits and cost of distributing the coals; if the Requisitioning Committee appointed to carry into effect the Order in Council of the 10th November has this matter under consideration; and if he will take steps to ensure that the benefits of the Price of Coal (Limitation) Act shall be given to consumers in Ireland equally with those in Great Britain?
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
A sub-committee of the Belfast Corporation met representatives of the local coal merchants and reported that they had satisfied themselves that the merchants were not making unreasonable profits. The corporation rejected this report and appointed a special committee to go into the matter afresh, but the merchants declined to attend a further conference. The Price of Coal (Limitation) Act applies to coal raised in the United Kingdom and sold in Ireland. The question of tonnage for the Irish trade has not been referred to the Requisitioning Committee.
§ Sir J. LONSDALE
Will the hon. Gentleman make inquiries as to the complaints of coal consumers in Belfast?