§ 24. Major Sir Jocelyn Lucas
asked the Secretary for Mines whether he will encourage corporations and public bodies to lay in large supplies of coal during the summer to be held as a reserve in case of emergency only; and whether he will now arrange for credits to merchants or firms who will do this themselves in view of the stocks in the places where they will eventually be wanted being preferable to stocks at the pithead and in view of the possibility of enemy action?
As regards the first part of the Question I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answer which the Secretary for Mines gave to the hon. Member for Leyton, West (Mr. Sorensen) on 19th March. As regards the latter part of the Question, my hon. Friend agrees that the most valuable sites for stocks are at or near places where the coal is actually to be consumed; but he is not contemplating that the Government will afford credits for merchants' stocks.
§ Sir J. Lucas
Is the hon. and gallant Member aware that at Richmond and 17 Barnes only yesterday an emergency train load of coal arrived and that no one would accept delivery because they had to pay cash for it, and that if credit was given this sort of case would not arise?
§ Mr. Thorne
Will he also convey to his hon. Friend the fact that coal delivery in London is entirely unsatisfactory?
§ 25. Mr. Ralph Etherton
asked the Secretary for Mines whether he can now give an approximate date when the order which provides that individuals shall only be supplied with 2 cwt. of coke or coal at one time will be relaxed, in view of the continuing drain on national resources which such an uneconomic method of delivery entails?
The Secretary for Mines hopes that it will be possible for the restriction to be modified at an early date.
§ Mr. Etherton
Is the hon. and gallant Member aware that it is now over nine weeks since the severe weather which aggravated the coal shortage, and can he do nothing but express vague hopes?