HC Deb 12 May 1931 vol 252 cc981-3
41. Brigadier-General BROWN

asked the Secretary for Mines what were the summer prices for household coal last May; and what are the similar prices at the present time?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Mr. Shinwell)

The only comparable figures I have are in respect of retail coal prices in Central London. On 13th May, 1930, the lowest summer retail prices ranged from 39s. to 50s. per ton, according to the class of coal. On 5th May, 1931, retail prices for the same classes of coal ranged from 40s. to 51s. per ton, and showed an increase of 1s. per ton over last year's prices.

Brigadier-General BROWN

Can the hon. Gentleman say what is the reason for this increase? Is it due, like everything else, to world causes?


Is my hon. Friend not aware that the pit-head price for the first three months of this year was less than the pit-head price for the same period last year?

42. Mr. REMER

asked the Secretary for Mines if his attention has been called to the difficulties under the Coal Mines Act sustained by the dyeworks of Messrs. Joshua Schofield and Sons, Limited, of Romily, Cheshire; if he is aware that this firm has a contract with the Black-well Colliery Company of Alfreton, Derbyshire, and that in order to obtain satisfactory supplies this firm had to pay 8d. a ton increase on their contract price; and what steps he intends to take to prevent these increased charges on industrial concerns?


I have no powers to control the distribution or price of coal. If it is alleged by the complainants that the increase in price is due to the operation of a scheme in force under Part 1 of the Coal Mines Act, 1930, and they consider that the increase is against the public interest or is unfair or inequitable, they have the right of submitting the matter to the Committee of Investigation for the Midland (Amalgamated) District set up under Section 5 of the Act expressly to deal with such matters.


In view of the difficulties incurred by my constituents in this matter, I beg to give notice that I shall call attention to the matter on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House at the earliest opportunity.


asked the Secretary for Mines whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the difference between the cost of coal at the London depots and the cost of domestic supplies is between 15s. and 19s. per ton; that coal is sold in London at 50s. per ton, which cost 17s. at the pithead, and with 126. added for railway rate and wagon hire, making the cost at the depot 29s.; whether he is aware that after deducting 6s. a ton for delivery in bags from the depots to the domestic cellar the difference of 15s. per ton remains as profit; and whether he will consider what steps can be taken to reduce the scale of profit from the sale of coal in London and elsewhere?


I have seen the figures quoted by my hon. Friend which were published recently in a technical journal. I am informed by the Coal Merchants' Federation that they are not prepared to accept these figures, and that they propose to issue a statement dealing with the allegations. I propose, therefore, to await that statement.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that coal is being delivered in London at present at 32s. a ton on the same basis as the supply for household purposes at 50s., and will he take some action to prevent this exploitation?


Various statements are made about the price at which coal is sold in London and the overhead charges. It is very difficult to get at the actual truth, but I am endeavouring to do it.


Was not the statement made in the House a short time ago that coal was delivered to the House of Commons and to Buckingham Palace at 32s. a ton?


I believe Government Departments purchase coal at a much lower price than it can be purchased by the average consumer, but there are reasons for it.

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