§ 34. Mr. MATTHEWS
asked the Minister of Transport whether his attention has been called to the situation brought about in the Welsh anthracite coalfield owing to the shortage and distribution of wagons whereby over 50,000 tons of coal has been lost to home consumers during the last two months, and to 1422 the official statement issued to the effect that anthracite collieries are actually in a position to largely increase supplies by thousands of tons per week; whether he will forthwith take such steps as will remedy this condition of things; and, having regard to the urgency from a national point of view of the further production of coal and of keeping the collieries working, will he cause an immediate inquiry to be made as to the distribution of wagons in the anthracite district and adopt means to mitigate the grave difficulties existing?
§ Sir E. GEDDES
I am aware of a shortage of wagons in the Welsh anthracite coalfields, the principal reason being that owing to scarcity of shipping a large proportion of coal which was formerly seaborne has been diverted to the railways, necessitating the use of railway wagons over long distances and thus causing a shortage of wagons. The Ministry of Transport and the railway companies concerned are making every effort to improve the situation.