HC Deb 27 February 1945 vol 408 cc1227-9
41. Mr. Leslie

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that for many weeks the householders in Billingham and Heighington, in the county of Durham, have been unable to secure coal supplies although mines are within a few miles; and whether the situation has now improved.

Major Lloyd George

During the inclement weather in January there was some dislocation of distribution but deliveries were executed as equitably as possible by the distributors under prevailing conditions and all genuine cases of hardship were dealt with promptly by the Local Fuel Overseers. If my hon. Friend will let me have particulars of any case he has in mind I will have it looked into immediately.

Mr. Leslie

Is the Minister aware that in some cases sick people were told that they could fetch the coal despite the fact that there was nobody who could go for it, and surely, in the case of sickness, some arrangement could be made to see that the coal was delivered?

Major Lloyd George

I understand from inquiries I have made that priority allocations were fulfilled, but I will look further into the matter.

Mr. Montague

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that in some parts of London the coal depots where coal could be obtained on a cash-and-carry basis were closed at 4 o'clock in the afternoon so that it was impossible for male members of a family to get coal after they had finished work?

Major Lloyd George

That is another question. The local authorities were responsible for all arrangements and I fancy they made arrangements to suit their own conditions, but I will have a look at the matter.

44. Sir William Wayland

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will consider amending the Coal Distribution Order to permit people living in furnished rooms without any alternative means of heating to draw a ration of coal for their own use, as their present dependence upon the householder's ration frequently results in their being without heating of any sort.

Major Lloyd George

The Coal Distribution Order, 1943, empowers Local Fuel Overseers to grant separate registration, where they consider it expedient, to any part of controlled premises which is separately occupied. This provision allows the acquisition of separate supplies up to the maximum permitted under the restrictions. Moreover, if the permitted amounts prescribed are inadequate for genuine needs in such cases, application may be made to the Local Fuel Overseer for a licence to obtain additional supplies. I have instructed local fuel overseers to give special attention to the administration of these provisions.