HC Deb 18 December 1933 vol 284 cc920-1
28. Mr. GROVES

asked the First Commissioner of Works if he is aware of the unsatisfactory results in the use of coalite for heating the House of Commons, and that the fumes arising from this fuel have proved detrimental to the health of Members; will he discontinue the use of this fuel and authorise the use of coal; and why this fuel is used in certain parts of the building and not in others?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative, though, if the hon. Member has any specific complaints of the performance or effects of this fuel, and will let me know, I need hardly say that I shall be ready to investigate them. In view of the policy of the Government to encourage the use of low-temperature fuel, I do not propose to discontinue its use so long as it proves effective and the price is right. Coal is used exceptionally in three rooms in this building where it is impracticable to replenish as frequently as low-temperature fuel requires.


After the all-night sitting, has the right hon. Gentleman had any reports of the unsatisfactory odours here; and, if the experiment is so popular and satisfactory, why does it not apply in the House of Lords?


It is applied throughout the building, except, I think, in the Prince's Chamber and one fireplace in the Peers' entrance, and one fireplace in the House of Lords Library, where the construction of the grate, plus the difficulty of replenishing, make it impracticable, but throughout the rest of the building coalite is used, and so far from receiving complaints I have received the opposite more often. It has been represented for. some years by the Ministry of Mines that it is very desirable to extend the use of this fuel. As to the all-night sitting, I do not know what evidence the hon. Member has for saying that it was the coalite which caused the smell.


Will my right hon. Friend get information as regards the facts about coalite being detrimental to the health of Members, and refer it to the medical committee of this House? I am not yet aware that there have been any detrimental effects.

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