HC Deb 06 May 1918 vol 105 cc1833-5
2. Mr. ALDEN

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is satisfied that the rationing of coke as well as coal has had the desired effect of reducing consumption; whether he is aware that large stocks of coke are now accumulating in the yards of the gas companies owing to the fact that consumers prefer coal to coke for the ordinary purposes of fuel; and whether, in view of this fact, he can see his way to allow coke to go unrationed, providing that a certain proportion of the fuel used by the consumer for household purposes is coke rather than coal?


The whole question in regard to consumption and stocks of coke has been a subject of careful investigation, and steps are being taken to ensure that all coke produced shall be used, and corresponding economies effected throughout the country in the consumption of coal.

3. Mr. ALDEN

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the decision to ration gas upon the present lines has resulted in an increased consumption of coal; whether it is more economical for the nation as a whole that gas rather than coal should be used for ordinary heating purposes; and, if so, whether the decision to ration can be subject to some reconsideration?


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that, when the first Coal-Rationing Order was made, many householders, in order to help the Government and to save the consumption of coal, had their houses fitted with gas stoves for heating and cooking purposes; whether ho is aware that, on the recent Order for gas reduction, many of those people will be forced to purchase coal for these purposes; will he state what is the effect the new Order on coal will have on these consumers; and, in view of the hardship these recent Orders on gas and coal will have on householders who have done their utmost to help the Government in these matters will he reconsider the whole matter and also allow this House to discuss it before any final decision is made?


I am aware that a considerable number of gas appliances for heating and cooking were installed last year, and that in some of these cases householders may have lately reverted to coal. In connection with the proposed new scheme of coal rationing I am considering whether it may not be practicable to take into account the consumption of gas for heating and cooking purposes, but I must warn householders that whether their fuel is in the form of coal or gas a very material reduction in consumption is absolutely necessary.


In the calculations made, could not note be taken of the gas and electric current used in conjunction with the use of coal and coke—the whole taken into account—so that if there is a reduction of one of these constituents there may be an increased allowance of the other?


If the hon. Gentleman will recall my answer, he will recollect that his suggestion that consideration should be given to the users of gas—and probably of electricity—will be considered with the question of the rationing of coal.


asked what effect the new rationing Gas Order will have on people who use gas for motor cars; and whether their consumption is being cut down in the same way that household consumption has been reduced?


In the case of persons using gas for motor cars drawn from their own source of supply for other purposes, the restriction of the new Order will have effect, but this does not apply to the case of persons obtaining a supply for motor vehicles from other sources, and the method of dealing with this matter is under consideration.


Is it not a fact that the gas companies have informed consumers who have their own charging stations for gas on their own premises, which is taken off the same meter, that no notice will be taken of the extra quantity consumed?


I am not aware that any such notice has been given. As I indicated in my reply, we are taking the subject under consideration at once.


Owing to the importance of the matter, will the right hon. Gentleman communicate with the gas companies?


I will look into the matter.


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will state the number of motor cars and wagons for which permission has been given in London for the use of gas; if he will state if the quantity of gas per car is limited; and if any fresh licences have been issued since the recent Gas-Rationing Order?


I regret that, without an amount of labour which would not be justified, it is not. possible to state the number of motor vehicles in any particular area for which permission has been given for the use of gas. The permit does not limit the amount of gas which may be used, but the purposes for which the car may be used are restricted. The issue of new permits was suspended in London and other parts of England before the date of the Lighting, Heating, and Power Order.