HC Deb 08 September 1942 vol 383 cc4-6
3. Sir George Broadbridge

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the estimated amount of petrol saved up to the 22nd August, 1942, by reason of the stoppage of basic allowances and substantial reductions in supplementary grants of petrol; the amount of lubricant oil saved; the amount of coal saved since the new Order was instituted; and the increase of coal from the pits for the last three months?

Major Lloyd George

I am advised that it would be contrary to the public interest to give the figures relating to petrol and lubricating oil. As regards coal, the desired figures of consumption are not available. So far as production is concerned, I would refer by hon. Friend to the reply I have given to a Question by the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Keeling).

12. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that the climate of certain districts near the East Coast is considerably more rigorous than that of other districts which receive the same or a greater allowance of fuel under the recently announced scheme; and whether he will revise his strictly horizontal classification of counties?

Major Lloyd George

It is true that, taking the evidence afforded by isotherms alone, some of the coldest parts of Great Britain in winter are on, or near, the East Coast. But if the hon. Member is suggesting that districts on the East Coast should for this reason be offered a more generous fuel economy target than more westerly districts of the same latitude, I fear that I cannot accept his suggestion. The ordinary dry bulb thermometer is not an adequate measure of climate as it affects human-beings. The rawness of the air in the North and the humidity of the air in the West must also be taken into account. For this and other reasons, the domestic consumption of fuel in fact increases as one goes northwards, and, taking all the relevant considerations into account, I am satisfied that the boundaries of the three zones are the most suitable that can be reasonably devised.

Mr. Driberg

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that charts in the Oxford Advanced Atlas indicate that the county of Essex in particular is in an exceptionally unfavourable position under his scheme as regards dampness as well as coldness; and will he bear in mind that assuming this voluntary scheme has any meaning at all—

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member appears to be making a speech.

17. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will recognise the undesirability of suggesting, without reservation, that families should all take their meals in the kitchen and use only one other living room in the house; and whether, in reconsidering the King-Hall proposals, he will consult women with some experience of how houses and homes are run and can be run?

Major Lloyd George

The actual words used by my hon. and gallant Friend were: A substantial economy of fuel in space heating could be achieved if all meals were taken in the kitchen, and one or both of the living rooms not used unless they could be used without fires. A large proportion of domestic fuel consumed is used for space heating and I see no reason to withdraw this suggestion, which is one of many issued by my Department in order to assist consumers in economising fuel. As regards the last part of the Question, I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that the knowledge and experience of house-wives is constantly used in connection with my fuel economy campaign.

5. Mr. Brooke

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power, why he is fixing the same voluntary ration of coal, gas and electricity for households consisting entirely of persons who are normally away from home all day and have most of their meals out, as for elderly or invalid people who have to have all their meals at home and need warmth at home all day in winter?

Major Lloyd George

The domestic fuel targets put forward under the fuel economy scheme indicate the general standards to be aimed at by the average household. It is obviously impracticable to prescribe targets for special cases, of the type to which the hon. Member refers, and I must leave it to the discretion of households containing invalid or aged persons to economise in the use of fuels to the greatest possible extent which is practicable in the circumstances.

Mr. Brooke

Will my right hon. and gallant Friend bear in mind that, unless more is done to adjust voluntary rations to the actual and varying needs, some people will be discouraged by finding their target quite out of their reach whereas for others the target will mean no sacrifice at all?

Major Lloyd George

It is a voluntary appeal, and it must be left to people who are doing their best to meet the situation to decide what is proper in the circumstances.

Mr. Shinwell

Cannot the right hon. and gallant Gentleman be warned in time that a voluntary appeal can never prove successful?

Major Lloyd George

I am afraid I cannot accept that altogether, because I have had experience in the past of very successful voluntary appeals, particularly in the last war.