HC Deb 28 March 1917 vol 92 cc425-7

asked the President of the Board of Trade why the Petrol Committee has issued an Order that motorists buying kerosene at a garage must enter it on their licence, when anybody can buy a barrel at the nearest oil and colour shop; and under what authority they have issued such Order?


All substitutes for petrol which come within the definition of "motor spirit," in the Finance Act, 1910, can legally be supplied only under licence, whether supplied at a garage or elsewhere. The increase in the use of these substitutes, the importation of which involves the use of tonnage which it is necessary to economise, caused the Petrol Control Committee to issue a warning to the effect that motorists who use such substitutes must in future, like those who use petrol, comply strictly with the legal requirements.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, at the request of the Ministry of Munitions and the Admiralty, a recent attempt was made to pool all petroleum products in this country and so economise in transport and personnel; whether the Shell Company, the Standard Oil Company, and other producers all agreed, but the German-owned British Petroleum Company, the control of which is with the Board of Trade, refused to agree; and why this was so?


In answer to the first part of the question, the Ministry of Munitions, the Admiralty, and the Board of Trade have intimated to the principal importing and distributing companies of petroleum products in this country that it is desirable to pool their tonnage distributing organisations and supplies. The organisation is already practically complete, and the scheme will shortly be in full working order. The answer to the second part of the question is in the negative, and the last part docs not, therefore, arise.


Is the hon. Member aware that if he had answered the question when it was first asked the reply would have been in the affirmative? You know it would.


I answered the question on the Paper.

72. Mr. W. THORNE

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the motor companies have taken off some of their motor omnibuses from the road, which will inflict hardship upon the wage-earning travelling public; if he can state if it is because there is a shortage of petrol; if he is aware that there are thousands of gallons of petrol used by the owners of private motor cars and taxi-cabs attending horse-race meetings from time to time; and if he will take steps to have horse racing stopped at once?


As regards the first part of this question, I am aware that, owing to shortage of motor fuels, certain omnibus services have been reduced; but I hope that in making this reduction the less important routes have been selected. As regards the latter part, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answers which I gave to questions asked by him on the 19th March and by the hon. Member for North-East Lanarkshire on Monday last.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Director of National Ser- vice suggested to a large number of Members of this House that they should go about and ask men to join the National Service, and so long as foolish games of this sort are going on does he think that Members would be justified in doing so?

75. Mr. FRANCE

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the fact that many motor omnibuses have been taken off important and busy routes in consequence of the shortage of motorfuel; and if he will take steps to prevent this popular form of public conveyance being curtailed while private cars are being used solely for pleasurable and luxurious purposes?


I am aware that in consequence of shortage of petrol motor omnibus companies are reducing then-services, but this reduction will primarily affect the less important routes. No licences are now being granted or renewed for the supply of petrol for use in private cars which are not used for purposes of national importance.


Can the hon. Gentleman tell me where owners of motor cars get petrol from?


I can only say there are no more licences issued.


Will the licences as they expire not be renewed?


That is so, except for work of national importance.