HC Deb 03 June 1924 vol 174 cc1057-8
35. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary for Mines whether ho has decided what legislative and/or administrative action he can take to mitigate the grievances of the domestic consumer of coal with regard to the price, quality, etc., of coal supplied by the trade for household use.?

36. Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is now able to state the comparative prices at which coal is distributed to the community by the co-operative societies and private companies; and whether the Government propose to take any action to regulate or restrict the profits upon such distribution?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Mr. Shinwell)

I have asked for certain further information from the co-operative societies, which will, I hope, enable me to give figures on a comparable basis with those of private companies and to collate the results of my inquiries, which I hope to present to the House. Meanwhile, I cannot add anything to the replies that I have already given on this subject.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Will the hon. Gentleman be able to make any further statement if I repeat this question on the 17th of this month?


That will altogether depend on whether I have the requisite information

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Then I will give my hon. Friend the opportunity.


Would it not be more advisable to have a Departmental inquiry into this subject., where witnesses can be examined and cross-examined by all parties?


We have examined the coal merchants on this subject, and we have received certain information from them, but we want more. Meanwhile, we are unable to get it, but we are pursuing our inquiries.

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

Does the hon. Gentleman find it is impossible to take any immediate action to check what he himself has characterised as discreditable profiteering?


At the moment it is not advisable to take any steps. I am anxious to obtain all the information that is available, and when I have received sufficient information, I shall be in the best position to judge whether any action is desirable.


Since we know the price of a ton of coal at the pit, and all the charges for carriage, buying and distribution, why should there be any delay in taking action upon a matter of this kind?

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