8. Colonel BURN
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the great hardship inflicted on towns that receive sea-borne coal and that have to pay considerably more for their gas and electric light owing to the increased cost of transit of the coal; and will he take steps to get the cost of coal delivered by sea in excess of that sent by rail divided amongst the various gas undertakings throughout the country?
§ Sir R. HORNE
I am aware that the cost of coal conveyed by sea for gas and electric light undertakings is in excess of that conveyed by rail. Owing, however, to the congestion on the railways, and to the difficulty in obtaining sufficient 7 wagons, it is not practicable to make any change at present. I am not prepared to take the steps indicated in the concluding portion of the question.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider it a great hardship that certain towns have to pay so much more for their gas owing to the price of coal, and if coal is carried at present by rail to Newton Abbot and delivered there why cannot it go on to Torquay, which is only five miles further on?
§ Sir R. HORNE
I am afraid that my hon. and gallant Friend does not entirely understand the question. He sympathises with the places that are situated on the sea, but they are obtaining the advantage at present of getting coal by rail, and consequently cheaper than in the old days when they had to get it all by sea.