96. Mr. De la Bère
asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the prevailing practice of vessels belonging to neutral nations taking supplies of bunker coal from this country instead of from Belgian ports because of the high prices demanded, he will stop this practice, in view of the shortage of our supplies.
§ Mr. Simmons (Lord of the Treasury)
I have been asked to reply. Foreign vessels not carrying cargo to or from this country are strictly limited in the quantity of bunkers they may take here and are not given more than sufficient coal to reach their next port of call. If carrying cargo to or from this country foreign vessels are allowed bunkers in tile United Kingdom on the same basis as British ships. My right hon. Friend is satisfied that this policy reduces the off take of bunkers by foreign ships to the minimum compatible with our position as a maritime nation.
Mr. De la Bère
Is the hon. Member aware that I put this Question down to the Minister of Fuel and Power, who did not like it? He transferred it to the Minister of Transport, who did not like it. Now the hon. Member, with whom I have no quarrel, is put up to deal with it. These important Questions should not be passed over by two important Ministers. It is really treating this House with great indifference in a very important matter. I wish to make a protest.