HC Deb 17 June 1920 vol 130 cc1445-6
49. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Prime Minister whether he has received a telegram sent to him on 14th June last from a mass meeting of employees of the Hull coal export trade, protesting against the continued embargo on coal exports from the Humber ports and the consequent threat to their livelihood; what action he proposes to take on the telegram; whether he is aware of the effect the embargo on coal is having on the import trade of the Humber; and whether some proportion of the exportable coal will be allotted to the port?


I have been asked to reply. The telegram referred to has been received, and, as I explained in my reply to the hon. and gallant Member on Monday last, I am not at present in a position to make any statement in this matter. I approve of the proposal which the staffs of the Hull coal exporters make in the telegram in question, namely, that they should ask the Committee, which has been set up to inquire into the matter, to take evidence from them.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Can the Prime Minister now receive a deputation from his very important trade, which is suffering so heavily? Was he not approached to receive one five months ago?


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether it is a fact that last week the Malton Colliery Company, County Durham, was advised by the Coal Controller that the total amount of coal they would be permitted to export abroad in June would be 22 tons, and that this tonnage must be shipped to foreign countries in the following proportions; 45 per cent. to France, 18 per cent. to Italy, 8 per cent. to Norway, 8 per cent. to Sweden, 7 per cent. to Denmark, 2 per cent. to Spain, and 12 per cent. to other foreign countries; is he aware that such a method of allocation is quite unworkable; and will he withdraw these particular orders whilst retaining the same limit as to the total amount to be exported?


I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which the Leader of the House gave to him yesterday in reply to a similar question.


May I ask if the intimation sent to the local controller was to the effect that a more businesslike arrangement was to be put in force, and the present unworkable one withdrawn?


As the hon. Gentleman has been informed, it is a matter with which the local Fuel Control Committee had to deal, and the complaint should be made to them. I believe the Coal Controller has been in communication with them, and the hon. Member should complain directly to the local committee.


Has the head Controller in London any authority over the local controller?


When control was taken over distribution the local Fuel Committee became the authority, and these instructions, if they are issued, are issued by them under their authority, and without any authority from the Fuel Controller.