HC Deb 17 April 1947 vol 436 cc315-6
9. Mr. Heathcoat Amory

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that manufacturers of types of paper quoted by his Department as being of primary importance are unable to work at more than 30 per cent. of normal output owing to their coal supplies being cut to 33⅓per cent.; and if he will revise allocations in such cases to enable production to meet the urgent need for industrial and commercial paper.

17 and 18. Mr. Symonds

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what amount of coal he expects to save per month by the reduction of the allocation to paper mills;

(2) if, in view of the raising of the school-leaving age, he will cancel any instructions for the reduction of the allocation of fuel to paper mills which will limit the production of educational textbooks.

Sir S. Cripps

I am aware that in recent weeks many paper mills have received only the basic coal allowance to industry of one-third of requirements; but in certain special cases mills have received supplements from the regional pools. As from Monday last the basic allowance has been raised to 50 per cent., and I hope that this will be of substantial benefit to paper mills as to many other sections of industry. The same type of paper is used in many cases for a number of purposes of varying degrees of importance. We have, therefore, advised the paper producers of certain purposes for which priority should, if possible, be given and we are considering the possibility of taking special action to maintain the production of educational textbooks. The total winter coal requirements of the paper, cardboard and millboard mills, on which the basic allowance is calculated, are estimated by the Ministry of Fuel and Power at about 67,000 tons per week.

Mr. Amory

Can the Minister say that, in the case of priority for paper, 50 per cent. will not necessarily be the maximum?

Sir S. Cripps

It will not necessarily be the maximum. Where there is coal in the pool, the region can allocate some, if it thinks right.

Mr. Hurd

Can the Minister tell us whether, on the new scale of priorities, provincial newspapers are to be allowed to restore their size, as the daily papers have done?

Sir S. Cripps

This does not cover the question of newsprint.