HC Deb 08 July 1942 vol 381 c761
33. Mr. Tinker

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether Parliament will have the opportunity of examining and discussing the increase of 3s. per ton in the price of coal; and will he refrain from increasing the price until they have done so?

Mr. T. Smith

As my hon. Friend is aware, the increase referred to was authorised from 3rd July and cannot now be suspended or revoked without causing general confusion.

Mr. Tinker

Does that mean that Parliament will not have a chance to discuss this matter? It means that the cost of living will be increased by a direct rise in prices, whereas we were promised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the cost of living would not increase and that it would be governed by Parliament.

Mr. Smith

The increase was decided upon after full consultation with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. With regard to the other matter, which is a border question, that is a question for the Government rather than for my Department.

Mr. Shinwell

Are we to understand it is finally settled that the increase is to be imposed in this way, and that the question of a subsidy cannot now be raised? Is that finally disposed of?

Mr. Smith

I think the hon. Member can take it that authorisation has been given for the payment of this increase in order to meet extra costs in the industry. I will convey to my right hon. Friend the suggestion my hon. Friend has made.