HC Deb 26 February 1946 vol 419 cc1731-2
33. Mr. Yates

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will consider making arrangements in Birmingham to enable people to obtain supplies of coal without having to wait in queues.

Mr. Shinwell

I am satisfied that consumers in Birmingham are receiving their fair share of available supplies, and I am not aware of any special difficulties of distribution in this area. My hon. Friend will appreciate that it is not uncommon for some consumers to prefer to take advantage of the "cash and carry" system in respect of small quantities of coal up to 28 lbs. and coke up to 56 lbs. which are not subject to the restrictions.

Mr. Yates

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that considerable hardship has recently been experienced in Birmingham because some dealers refuse to deliver coal, and that in some cases in my own constituency children are being kept away from school to fetch coal, and men are actually losing time for the same reason? Will he inquire into this matter?

Mr. Shin well

Before I make inquiries, I would ask my hon. Friend to furnish some particulars.

34. Mr. Yates

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that Birmingham and black country factories will shortly be working only five days a week because of the coal shortage; and what action he is taking to increase supplies of coal to this area for industrial purposes.

Mr. Shinwell

Existing coal distribution arrangements are designed to spread the limited supplies available between the various consumers as fairly and equitably as possible. I have no evidence that factories in Birmingham and the Black Country are not getting their fair share