HC Deb 24 April 1940 vol 360 cc213-4
79. Mr. Burke

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is aware that there is a shortage of steam coal in Burnley which is making it extremely difficult for mills to keep running; and will he take action immediately to prevent looms becoming idle, and workpeople unemployed, as has happened on previous occasions?

The Secretary for Mines (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)

Except when delivery was made impossible by snow, no case has come to my notice of the stoppage of any mill in Burnley due to shortage of coal, although I am aware that a number of them have had to rely on day-to-day deliveries. The arrangements which are already in force to maintain these deliveries will continue until more regular and adequate supplies are assured.

Mr. Burke

Is the Minister not aware that many firms, the names of which I have supplied to him, have had to close down because they have not been able to maintain their supplies? Will he do something to get the stocks back again to something like normal?

Mr. Lloyd

The hon. Member will see from the terms of my reply that no stoppages have been brought to my notice except those when snow made delivery impossible. I am aware, however, that there has been anxiety in regard to the stock position in the area.

Mr. Silverman

Does the Minister realise that mills in the past have been accustomed to retain stocks of coal which have now been almost entirely exhausted? Will he give facilities as soon as possible to enable them to obtain their stocks again so that the same position will not recur?

Mr. Lloyd

The reason for the depletion of stocks is well known. I do, however, agree with the hon. Member's suggestion.

Mr. George Griffiths

Is not one of the reasons for the depletion of stocks that the coal-face miners in the county of Yorkshire have been penalised?

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