HC Deb 02 April 1940 vol 359 cc18-9
28. Mr. Beechman (for Mr. Loftus)

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is aware that bunker coal is being sold at Milford at 35s. 6d. a ton, whereas the fishing-boats at Newlyn have to pay 55s. a ton to the detriment of their capacity to compete with Belgian diesel trawlers landing fish at Newlyn; and whether he proposes to take any steps to enable the British boats fishing from Newlyn to obtain coal at reasonable prices?

Lieut.-Colonel Kerr

My hon. Friend will appreciate that the cost of sending coal to Newlyn must inevitably be considerably higher than to Milford. In view, however, of the large difference in price to which he has drawn attention, the Secretary for Mines has had the matter investigated by an officer of his Department. The report which he has now received indicates that specially heavy costs are involved in the handling of this coal, but he is not as yet satisfied that the full extent of the difference is accounted for by this fact, and he is having further inquiries made into the matter. Perhaps the Secretary for Mines might communicate with my hon. Friend when these are completed.

Mr. Beechman

In view of the fact that the Minister's attention was called to this question some weeks ago and that it is a very serious matter for this port, will my hon. and gallant Friend ask his hon. Friend to take steps to hurry up measures for dealing with it?

Lieut.-Colonel Kerr

I will certainly do so.