§ 90. Mr. GILBERT
asked the President of the Board of Trade what decision has been come to as to dealing with retail coal dealers who sell at higher prices than those issued by the Board of Trade, and which inflicts hardship on the buyers of small quantities?
The Controller of Coal Mines has received from the Merchants' Committee a first Report on the Complaints into which they are inquiring. Of the cases so far investigated, about half 393 have been found to relate to sea-borne coal. This coal (which is only a small portion of the supplies) cannot be sold at the agreed prices owing to the high level of freights. In one or two of the cases relating to rail-borne coal it appears that the price at which the merchant sold to the dealer was excessive. The Controller is communicating with the merchants. In some of the remaining cases the complaint appeared to be unfounded. In others the dealer has been warned that his supplies will be withheld if the agreed prices are exceeded again. The investigation is proceeding.