HC Deb 14 February 1927 vol 202 cc560-1
74. Mr. W. THORNE

asked the Secretary for Mines if he is aware that the coal merchants in the East End of London are selling coal at 3s. 2d. per cwt.; if he can state the selling price of coal at the pithead; the cost of freightage of inland and waterways coal per ton; and whether he will inquire into the reason for the high price of coal in the East End and other parts of London?


Yes, Sir. I am aware that some coal Os being sold in East London at this price, but I cannot say what the pit-head price of this coal is; there is a wide range of pit-head prices for different qualities of coal sold for domestic use. The average cost in railway rates and wagon hire of bringing coal to London is 12s. 4d. a ton; practically no domestic coal is brought by water. The price of domestic coal has been the subject of several inquiries in the last few years, and the results have been published. I do not think that a further inquiry at the present time would serve any useful purpose.


Do I understand from that reply that as a matter of fact the Government intend to do nothing? Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that the selling price of coal at the pithead is very much lower now than it was before the lock-out? What the public want to know is who is getting the difference between the pit-head price and the selling price in London?


What single inquiry in recent years has been completed and carried through the issue of a Report?


I do not know that as a result of any inquiry any definite action has been taken by any Government.


That answer is just about as clear as mud.


Would my hon. Friend consider the question of developing a little bit more the canal services at the disposal of this country for the much cheaper transport of coal?


That question scarcely arises here.