HC Deb 16 February 1920 vol 125 cc479-80

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the stock of coal now hold at the Coventry gas works is less than three days' requirements: whether this is due to the non-delivery by the railways of the quantities hitherto delivered and required by the Coventry gas works: whether he is aware that the Coventry gas works is only one of some 400 gas works throughout the country which have less than one week's supply of coal; and also whether he will take immediate steps to ensure that the coal requirements of Coventry gas works and of other gas works throughout the country will receive the immediate attention of the Coal Controller and the Ministry of Transport, so as to prevent the failure of the gas supply, and the consequent closing of all factories dependent upon gas supply in these various towns?


I am aware of the circumstances to which my hon. Friend calls attention, and every possible effort is being made, in conjunction with the Ministries of Transport and Shipping, to relieve the situation.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the situation probably to-day, since this question has been printed, is that there is less than one day's reserve of coal, and that tomorrow morning some of the industries in the city must perforce be closed down? Can nothing be done to alleviate the situation?


I am aware of the difficulties, and the matter has been receiving the most careful consideration during the week-end. I hope something will be done to relieve the situation in time.


Does the hon. Gentleman think, so long as so much coal is being exported, he will be able to supply home consumption?


A question is to be asked later, and a reply will be given showing what efforts are being made to deal with the difficulties of the situation.


Is he aware that the difficulty in the main is due to the breakdown of transport, because coal is being carried for long distances when it can be obtained almost on the spot?


I am aware it is largely due to the difficulties of transport, but the difficulty of arrangement of the different areas is a very serious one, and it is not quite so easy as the hon. Gentleman seems to think.

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