HC Deb 16 February 1944 vol 397 cc182-3
60. Mr. Thorne

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how much money the extra 4d. increase on the price of coal has realised; how the money is being used; on how many thousands of tons has the extra 4d. been charged; and is there any distinction made between house used coal and the coal used for production purposes.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power (Mr. Tom Smith)

It is not in every case that there is an addition of 4d. because in calculating the increase in hundredweight prices for small deliveries account is taken of any gain or loss to merchants on hundredweight prices arising out of previous alterations in price. That has resulted in some increases in the hundredweight price being 1d. only, or 1s. 8d. per ton instead of 3s. 4d. Nevertheless the increase per hundredweight has more frequently been 2d. or 3s. 4d. per ton because 3s. divided by 20 does not produce an answer which can be accurately reflected by our monetary system. I ought to add that in authorising an average increase of 3s. per ton there was some house coals for which the increase in pit head price was 3s. 4d. and in such cases the permitted increase for small sales was still 3s. 4d. per ton or 2d. per hundredweight. The 4d. if collected, is retained by merchants, but, as I have indicated will be taken into account on the occasion of any future rise; industrial coal is sold in ordinary course by the ton and no addition would be permitted to the authorised increase for the grade of coal concerned. For reasons explained it is not possible to give figures showing the precise effect of price increases in small sales as compared with an average of 3s. per ton.

Mr. Thorne

The Parliamentary Secretary has not given the total amount realised.

Mr. Smith

As I explained, it is almost impossible at this moment to give the exact amount.

Mr. J. J. Lawson

When the methods of calculations for the mines are being considered, may we also have the methods of calculation in the Ministry of Fuel and Power?

Mr. Smith

We shall have enough of the calculations in a day or two.

Mr. Loģan

Is it the intention of the Minister to introduce the decimal system in regard to the production of coal?

Mr. Georģe Griffiths

Does not the Parliamentary Secretary see that the public feel they are being bled? If coal is raised by only 3s. a ton and is retailed at an extra 4d. per cwt. to poor people, they are bound to get their backs up.

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