§ 44. Mr. Ammon
asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is aware that the House Coal Officer in his Department is still actively engaged in his business as a coal merchant; that, at a meeting of coal merchants for the No. 29 Division, South-East London, this officer, who was present to explain the Government scheme for the distributive trade, said merchants should realise that the Government is paying for the control of the trade for the trade; and is he satisfied that such organisation is best fitted to safeguard the interests of the consumers?
§ Mr. Grenfell
I have not been able to trace the statement referred to, either in the minutes of the meeting or otherwise; but I should explain that it is necessary that the house coal officers and their assistants, who are all officers of my Department, should be men of standing with wide experience in the coal distribution trade. They are required, on appointment, to discontinue active participation in their private businesses, but I do not think that it would be either equitable or in the public interest to limit selection to such persons as are prepared, as a condition of appointment, to sever all connection with their private businesses. I am satisfied that these officers are rendering loyal and efficient service to the State.
§ Mr. Grenfell
I should like the hon. Member to give me any evidence of that. I have no evidence that any officer is using his position for the purpose of improving his position in his business or in any other way.