HC Deb 21 July 1919 vol 118 cc876-7
31. Lieut.-Colonel SPENDER CLAY

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to an Order from the Board of Trade (Coal Mines Department) instructing gas companies in the South of England to purchase sea-borne coal from Durham and Northumberland; whether he is aware that the effect of such Order will entail an increase in the price of coal of from 8s. to 10s. per ton, and a consequential increase in the price of gas of at least 1s. per 1,000 cubic feet per ton; and what steps he proposes to take in the matter?


This is part of a general rearrangement of supplies due to the necessity of supplying sea-borne coal from exporting districts in substitution for rail-borne coal which has hitherto been supplied from Yorkshire and the Midlands, in which districts inland consumption has to bear the full effect of the reduction in output due to the shortening of the miners' hours.

Lieut.-Colonel SPENDER CLAY

Is it fair to the gas companies to have to pay this increased price, entirely due to the action of the Government?


The hon. Member is misinformed or is under a misapprehension in thinking that it is due to the Government's Order. The increase in the price of sea-borne coal is due to economic causes which push up freights generally.

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