HC Deb 14 March 1944 vol 398 cc6-8
13. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that the coal ration brings considerable hardship to houses without gas and other ancillary cooking facilities; and whether any steps can be taken to increase the ration in such cases.

Major Lloyd George

I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement I made on the 23rd November last in reply to a Question by the Member for East Rhondda (Mr. Mainwaring), in which I explained that there is no specific ration of coal for each household. The position since then has deteriorated owing to strikes and transport difficulties, and I can hold out no hope of any relaxation in the existing restrictions, though I would point out that provision is made for local fuel overseers to grant allowances for additional quantities in cases of illness or where there is an exceptional need.

Mr. Woodburn

Is not the right hon. and gallant Gentleman prepared to do anything for those houses which have no supplementary method of cooking and where the small ration that is given is largely taken up by stone? Can he give an assurance that the stone might be replaced by coal?

Major Lloyd George

Naturally I would if I could. My hon. friend probably knows better than I do the difficulties with regard to screen work at the present time, and there is certainly a deterioration because of that. With regard to the first part of the supplementary question, exceptional need does mean cases such as he has referred to.

Mr. McKinlay

Is it correct to use the word "ration"?

Major Lloyd George

No, Sir.

Dr. Haden Guest

Is it not a fact that in certain areas there is unequal distribution of coal among registered customers because some suppliers have an unduly large number of registrations, which they are unable to handle? Is it not possible in such cases to secure that the registrations are spread more equitably over all the suppliers in the area, so as to ensure consumers getting their allocation?

Major Lloyd George

I am prepared to look into that point if my hon. Friend has cases of that sort.

14. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that the so-called coal ration is frequently much reduced by the inclusion of stone in the ration and that this causes serious hardship to homes where no other cooking resources exist; and whether he is prepared to ensure that only coal will be supplied or that the charge for stone will be refunded to those so overcharged.

Major Lloyd George

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to a Question on this subject by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ilford (Mr. Hutchinson) on 18th February.

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