HC Deb 02 March 1937 vol 321 cc152-3
10. Mr. Graham White

asked the Secretary for Mines whether the committee of shipowners, engineers, and shipbuilders which is considering questions relating to the use of coal and oil fuel in the merchant marine will be charged with the investigation of the problems arising from the difficulty of obtaining bunker coal of the right quality, at the right time and place under the marketing schemes, and the consequent tendency to convert coal-burning tonnage to oil?

Captain Crookshank

This Committee, on which coal interests will be represented as well as shipping and marine engineering interests, is to examine the possibility in the national interest of obtaining an increased use of coal for bunkering purposes and to formulate proposals designed to secure that object. I think that these terms of reference are wide enough to enable the Committee, in its discretion, to consider all aspects of the problem, but I must not be taken as accepting the suggestion in the question that difficulties of supply are due to the marketing schemes.

Mr. White

Is the Minister fully seized of the fact that it is not the present policy of the coal trade to facilitate trade in bunkers, and that the gradual extension of oil burning is inevitable?

Captain Crookshank

It is in order to consider these matters in their widest aspects that the committee has been appointed.

12. Mr. Garro Jones

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is aware that the Mines Department informed the British Trawlers' Federation in 1930 that bunker coal for fishing vessels should be classed as export supply, but that the Northumberland Committee reject this view, to the detriment of the fishing in- dustry in Aberdeen; and whether he will make representations to the Northumberland Committee?

Captain Crookshank

In 1934—not 1930—bunker coal for fishing vessels was classified in the Northumberland scheme as export supply. This relates only to quantitative regulation and does not affect price regulation, which, I presume, the hon. Member has in mind. If the British Trawlers' Federation is dissatisfied with prices fixed under the Northumberland scheme, it is open to it to complain to the district committee of investigation.

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