HC Deb 06 February 1945 vol 407 cc1869-71
4. Dr. Summerskill

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what plans are being formulated in order that the present failure to distribute coal for domestic purposes will not recur next winter.

Major Lloyd George

As the tonnage of coal delivered to London householders this winter, in spite of the exceptionally severe weather conditions, has substantially exceeded the total delivered last winter, I cannot accept my hon. Friends' implication of failure. I am, however, reviewing the present arrangements for coal distribution in the light of the winter's experience, and such changes as I find to be necessary for its improvement will be made.

Dr. Summerskill

Is it now proposed to rationalise the distribution of coal, in view of the fact that the Minister of Labour said last week that even in normal conditions there would be a shortage of labour?

Major Lloyd George

A good deal of rationalisation has already taken place. When I review the arrangements, its extension is one of the things that I shall review.

9. Major C. S. Taylor

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power, whether, in allocating supplies of coal, coke and anthracite for Eastbourne, he took into consideration the large numbers of evacuees now returning to this area.

Major Lloyd George

Yes, Sir. Adjustments of winter allocations of house coal to the South-Eastern Region have been made in consequence of the return of evacuees to that area, and the basic allocation to Eastbourne has been substantially increased.

Major Taylor

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that evacuees are still returning and that, from information given me, although the figures were furnished, they were not taken into account?

Major Lloyd George

I can assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman that we have this matter very closely in mind. The allocation has been substantially increased to Eastbourne and, if the need arises, will be increased still further.

14. Mr. Astor

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he has further considered the possibility of using prisoner-of-war labour in coal distribution in London.

Major Lloyd George

Since the reply which I gave on 23rd January to a similar Question by my hon. Friend, I am advised that the question of accommodation for prisoner-of-war labour in London has been under review, and I am in consultation with my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Labour and National Service, as to the possibility of arranging for the labour force engaged in coal distribution to be strengthened from this source.

Mr. Astor

Can my right hon. and gallant Friend say when he will be in a position to make a definite statement?

Major Lloyd George

I am afraid that I cannot say now more than I have said in my reply.