HC Deb 23 July 1940 vol 363 cc599-601
40. Mr. Thorne

asked the Secretary for Mines whether the local authorities will be permitted to purchase extra tons of coal during the next four months, and sell to local people during the winter months?

The Secretary for Mines (Mr. David Grenfell)

I am anxious to take full advantage of the readiness of local authorities to help in building up reserves of coal in their areas, and I think that they can do so most effectively and expeditiously by co-operating with my Department in laying down stocks on Government account. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the circular letter which I addressed to all urban authorities in Great Britain on this matter on 12th July.

42. Captain Strickland

asked the Secretary for Mines what steps he proposes to take to secure for the greatly increased population of Coventry an immediate and adequate supply of household coal to enable citizens to meet present needs and to lay in a winter stock where possible; and whether, in the interest of economic transport, he will put a stop to replacing Warwickshire coal, sent away from the district, by coal imported from other distant coalfields?

Mr. Grenfell

Very considerable stocks of house coal have already been built up in Coventry, and further stocks are being accumulated at a satisfactory rate. As regards the last part of the Question, I am doubtful whether the retention in Warwickshire of a greater proportion of local coal would effect any saving in transport, having regard to the longer rail haul from other producing areas to places which that district now serves.

Captain Strickland

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that one large trading concern in Coventry has been able to supply only about 1 cwt. per customer during the last six weeks?

Mr. Grenfell

I am not quite sure that I identify that company, but the facts are that, in Coventry, distributors have sold at the rate of four times the ration which was laid down for the whole of the last winter, in addition to which the stocks have been multiplied nearly four times in the last two months.

Captain Strickland

Is the Minister aware of the facts of the case; that there are people who have had orders for coal for over five weeks and that one trading concern, at any rate, has not a spot of coal in the whole of its sidings?

Mr. Grenfell

If the hon. and gallant Member will send me particulars of that trading company, I will see that it gets its share of coal.

43. Mr. Doland

asked the Secretary for Mines what measures he has adopted or proposes to adopt to create dumps of coal for the use of small consumers in South-West London during next winter; whether he is aware that in many of these districts coal merchants and factors have insufficient space on their own property to store stocks of coal in order to supply these small consumers; and whether he will take steps to assist in this respect?

Mr. Grenfell

House coal is already being stocked on Government account at six sites in South-West London, and other sites are awaiting supplies.

Mr. Doland

Would the hon. Gentleman give the names of some of the places where they are stored?

Mr. Grenfell

I can assure the hon. Member that he knows of these places. They are situate in his own neighbourhood. I cannot oblige him with all the names or the quantities of coal stored.