§ 29. Mr. PENNEFATHER
asked the Prime Minister what progress the Board of Trade, the Board of Customs and Excise, and the alcohol investigation officer have made in regard to the promised inquiry as to what steps can be taken to foster the production of power alcohol and other petrol substitutes in this country; and whether he is yet in a position to make any statement upon the subject?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The inquiry which is being made into the production of power alcohol is not confined to this country alone, but will embrace the whole of the British Empire. Progress is being 2220 made, but in view of the wide scope of the subject, it is not possible to make any statement at present.
§ 34. Sir R. COOPER
asked the Prime Minister if he can make a statement on the present policy of the Government on the preservation and development of petrol production within the Empire and countries placed under the mandate of the United Kingdom?
§ Mr. KELLAWAY (Secretary, Department of Overseas Trade)
It is the desire of His Majesty's Government to give all possible encouragement to the development of national resources, including petroleum, both within the Empire and in mandated territories. It is not practicable, however, to make any detailed statement of policy at present.
§ Sir R. COOPER
Am I to understand from the hon. Gentleman's answer that the Government realise that present conditions do demand the very closest attention to the new policy in this matter for the protection of British interests?
§ Mr. BILLING
Having regard to the fact that the petrol ring have cornered the supply of spirit in this country, will the Government consider the advisability of assisting, by subsidisation, those people who are endeavouring to produce substitutes to break the ring?
§ Mr. KELLAWAY
I think my hon. Friend has stated exactly what is the policy of the Government. As regards the second part, I do not accept my hon. Friend's description.
§ Mr. BILLING
Does the hon. Gentleman agree to the subsidisation of this industry, which is as important as many others in which the Government have been gambling?
§ Viscount CURZON
Will the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that they will not put the control of petrol production under the control of trusts?