HC Deb 24 July 1941 vol 373 cc1059-60
62. Mr. Lipson

asked the Secretary for Mines what steps he proposes to take to help coal merchants who cater solely for the small consumer to meet their requirements?

The Secretary for Mines (Mr. David Grenfell)

One of the main reasons for the present restrictions of coal deliveries is to safeguard the position of the smaller consumers. Further steps in the same direction are being provided by the special arrangement with merchants to lay in stocks of coal against winter needs, and by the stocking of coal in dumps on Government account. Every effort is being made to ensure that the supplies of house coal coming forward are distributed equitably among merchants.

Mr. Lipson

Is the hon. Member aware that these small consumers use about one cwt. a week and have no reserve, and that they rely upon this weekly supply? Will he give the local fuel overseers authority with regard to priority of allocation for these particular consumers?

Mr. Grenfell

The instructions to fuel overseers are quite clear. The difficulty is that there are not abundant supplies everywhere yet. It is a question of better supplies, and I feel sure that there will be a reasonable distribution of coal when that is forthcoming.