HC Deb 27 February 1947 vol 433 cc2261-3
40. Mr. A. Edward Davies

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that many householders are without coal; and what steps he is taking to maintain and improve the present ration.

Mr. Shinwell

I am aware that owing to increased consumption caused by the cold weather there are consumers who have exhausted their supplies. It is not possible, however, to allot a larger tonnage of coal for domestic consumption.

Mr. Davies

Is the Minister aware that most people in this country are prepared to put up with some inconvenience caused by industrial dislocation, but they are most anxious to have their own little bit of fuel in their homes; and can we have an assurance that in any future arrangements the supply of raw fuel on which many people are totally dependent will be ensured?

Mr. Shinwell

I did everything possible last year to ensure a larger supply of household coal. In fact, we did secure a larger supply, although, undoubtedly, it was not sufficient for the purpose, and there has been some inconvenience and hardship. So far as the future is concerned, we have no intention, whatever scheme is formulated, of not including domestic coal supplies.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that h many rural areas the exhaustion of coal supplies is due to the fact that the allocations promised have not been delivered?

Mr. Shinwell

I am afraid that the hon. and learned Gentleman is not altogether accurate. The weather has had some effect on transport facilities, and we have been unable to make the necessary allocations in some cases, but, generally speaking, we have overcome the difficulty.

Major Bramall

Is the Minister aware that, in many areas, consumers have exhausted their supplies, because, although supplies are available in the yards, the dealers will not deliver the coal, and prefer to sell it at their yards, irrespective of allocations?

Mr. Shinwell

If we are informed of the details of that matter, we shall deal with it at once.

Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite

Is it not a fact that, as far as the rural areas are concerned, this problem goes back to before the present severe weather?

Mr. Shinwell

I agree that all along there has been a scarcity of household supplies. As I pointed out last night, in the course of the Debate, what is wanted is more coal, and we are doing all we possibly can to get it.

Dr. Stross

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in many of these cases the coal is available and has been available, and that the fault lies in transport, as a result of the weather?

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