HC Deb 10 March 1942 vol 378 cc920-1
41. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport how many coupons in excess of basic ration have been issued to owners of motor horse-boxes used for the conveyance of race-horses to meetings under National Hunt Rules in the five months ended 28th February, 1942?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I regret that the detailed information for which my hon. Friend asks is not available. I am able to say, however, that it is most unlikely that any supplementary issues of petrol were made for this purpose.

Sir W. Smithers

In view of the request of the Minister of Transport for 100,000 lorries to be devoted to war purposes, why cannot these lorries and the petrol they use be diverted also to war purposes?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I think, in fact, that very little petrol indeed in being used for this purpose. Under the arrangement made with the National Hunt Committee, which controls the steeplechasing programmes in winter, this Committee allows only local entries, that is, entries from stables close to the course where the race is to be run.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Why is any petrol being used for this purpose?

Mr. Noel-Baker

That raises the general question of the Government policy regarding entertainments, which was settled long ago.