§ 5.47 p.m.
§ The Minister of Supply (Mr. Burgin)
I beg to move,That the Draft Order entitled the Ministry of Supply (Transfer of Powers) (No. 2) Order, 1939, presented to this House on 13th September, be approved.The Essential Commodities Reserves Act, 1938, dealt with three things: fertilisers, food and petroleum. Fertilisers have been transferred to the Minister of Supply, food has been transferred to the Minister of Food, and it will be for the convenience and simplification of Government business if the only remaining item under the heading of essential commodities is transferred to the Minister of Supply. This Order has nothing to do with the distribution or control of the use of petroleum.
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Before we pass this Order, to which we offer no special objections, I should like to put a question to the right hon. Gentleman. As I understand, the powers in the Essential Commodities Reserves Act relating to control are to pass from the Board of Trade to the right hon. Gentleman's Department. So far as actual production of petroleum in this country is concerned, I would like to know whether the right hon. Gentleman's Department is to be responsible in future. I understand that in regard to distribution he is not responsible. What is to happen in regard to production? If it is to pass to his Department we should like to know whether he proposes to stimulate production. If it is to remain, as at present, under the control of the Secretary for Mines, it is quite a different matter.
That the Draft Order entitled the Ministry of Supply (Transfer of Powers) (No. 2) Order, 1939, presented to this House on 13th September, be approved.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.