§ Mr. INSKIP (by Private Notice)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is in a position to give any information as to the extent to which the options to holders of Exchequer Bonds maturing during 1920 to convert into the new 5¾ Exchequer Bonds have been exercised?
The following figures should be taken as subject to correction when final figures are available:—
§ to the Shipping Controller what steps, if any, have been taken to enable the increased coal supply for Ireland, promised by the Board of Trade, to be delivered in Ireland without delay?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of SHIPPING (Colonel Leslie Wilson)
I have only received notice of this question since arriving in the House this afternoon. I have, however, in view of messages which have reached the Ministry of Shipping this morning, and in view of what the hon. and gallant Gentleman said at the Adjournment last night, been making 1501 enquiries into this question of the coal supply for Ireland, and I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that everything possible is being done to meet the situation. The main trouble is congestion in the ports. My right hon. Friend the Shipping Controller, with officials of the Ministry of Shipping and representatives of the Coal Control Department, are to-day at Cardiff personally investigating the position. I have been in telephonic communication with the Shipping Controller this morning who informs me that, as the result of his visit, he hopes to be in a position to secure the promptest possible loading of all vessels engaged in carrying coal to United Kingdom destinations, and Ireland will naturally get the benefit with other places of such arrangements. Meanwhile I can only say that every endeavour is being made to get the Irish boats loaded as quickly as possible.
§ Captain REDMOND
May I ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman, and at the same time thank him for his courteous reply, to impress upon the Shipping Controller that the Irish case is most urgent, that the present position in Ireland with regard to the coal supply is appalling, and that if immediae steps are not taken, not only will the industries, but also the poor of the country, suffer?
§ Colonel WILSON
I may say that the Ministry of Shipping was rather surprised to receive the messages we did this morning that the situation was so serious, in view of the message we had, namely, that the amount of coal landed in Ireland last week was larger than for several weeks. But, in view of what the hon. and gallant Member has told me, and the other representations made, I can assure him that steps will be taken to mitigate the position.