HC Deb 16 March 1938 vol 333 cc409-10
45. Miss Ward

asked the Prime Minister whether he is now in a position to state whether it is his intention to set up a committee to inquire into the differences between the ascertained pit-head prices and the prices charged to the domestic consumer?

The Prime Minister

It has been decided to set Up a Departmental Committee, composed of persons independent of the interests affected, with the following terms of reference: To inquire into the organisation and methods of distribution of coal, coke and manufactured fuel; to investigate the various items which make up the differences between the prices received by the producers and those paid by the consumers, and to make recommendations. I would like to make it plain that, for the reasons given during the Debates on the Coal Bill, these terms of reference do not include any inquiry into the operation of the coal-selling schemes themselves, but the operation of distributing companies, whether or not they are subsidiary companies of collieries, would fall within their scope.

Miss Ward

May I thank the Prime Minister for his answer, and say that I am sure that it will give great satisfaction?

Mr. Bellenger

Will the evidence be taken on oath?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Is it proposed that the report of this Committee shall be available to this House before we proceed to consider the further stages of the Coal Bill?

The Prime Minister

The inquiry itself will be held in public except when the Committee decides that it may be advisable to hear evidence from either firms or individuals in private.

Mr. Griffiths

But in the meantime is it proposed to hold up further consideration of the Coal Bill?

Sir Joseph Lamb

Will there be any inquiry into the sale of coal for domestic purposes as well as for manufacturing purposes?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir.

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