§ 59. Mr. BOYTON
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the retail hawkers' price of coal supplied in small quantities has recently been so high as 2s. 3d. per hundredweight; and if this is an indication of failure on the part of certain coal merchants whom he called to his assistance to keep down retail prices?
My attention has been called to one or two cases in which excessive prices have been charged by small dealers. These have been dealt with by the London Merchants Retail Coal Prices Committee. The principal merchants agreed to withhold supplies from dealers who charge more than the recognised prices, and I have no reason to suppose that the arrangement is not working satisfactorily.
§ Mr. MACMASTER
Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that, even at the recognised prices, there is practically a coal famine to-day in the City of London, and that it is most difficult to get a supply for household use even by giving a fortnight's notice?
No, Sir, I am not aware that there is a coal famine in London, but if the hon. and learned Gentleman will bring particulars to my notice and the districts where there is a shortage of coal, I will see what can be done.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
Will the right hon. Gentleman issue weekly from his Department the recognised prices?
No, Sir. There are no recognised flat prices for the whole of London, as I have frequently explained to the House.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Is it generally understood that the carters of coal form a. reserved occupation under the Military Service Act?