HC Deb 06 March 1947 vol 434 cc629-31
25. Mr. Beswick

asked the President of the Board of Trade what types of goods are to be distributed more freely in mining areas; and what is the reason for deciding to distribute these goods generally in the shops and not specifically to the miners.

Sir S. Cripps

The arrangements relate to unrationed household goods such as blankets, curtain material, floor covering, wallpaper and various household appliances; to certain Government clothing surpluses, to goods for which miners have a special need, such as bait tins, water bottles and galvanised baths and to certain unrationed foodstuffs, namely, flour confectionery, meat products and oil for fish frying. As regards the last part of the Question, the policy is not to make a distribution to miners as such but to in crease supplies of these goods to the main mining areas, which surveys have shown to be, on the whole, less well supplied than other areas.

Mr. Spence

May I ask the President whether he would arrange to make in creased supplies available to the main rail way areas as well?

Sir S. Cripps

This is a special step which is being taken in order to get more coal for the railways.

Mr. Beswick

Would my right hon. and learned Friend agree that if it is designed to increase coal production there is no guarantee that the supplies will in fact reach the miners' families? If we can afford additional supplies, can it not be done by providing an incentive or reward for the actual people engaged in coal production?

Sir S. Cripps

This matter has been very carefully thought out in association with the miners' representatives, and this was considered to be the best way of doing it.

Mr. Wilkes

Will the President of the Board of Trade take special care that these extra consumer goods go to the shops in the smaller mining villages—[HON. MEMBERS: "The Co-ops."]—and not to larger provincial towns within the development areas where they might be bought by the general population in stead of by the miners' families?

Sir S. Cripps

They will be sent to those areas where there are mining communities and particularly to the shops in those areas, including the Co-operative Wholesale Society.

Mr. Snadden

What does the right hon. and learned Gentleman intend to do for food producers who have an equal claim?

Mr. Bowles

Will my right hon. and learned Friend arrange for supplies of cigarettes to be sent to the miners' canteens, and also for beer to be sent to the mining community?

Sir S. Cripps

If there are any deficiencies I will bear that in mind.

47. Mr. Baker White

asked the Prime Minister whether the East Kent coalfield is to be included in the mining areas that are to be granted concessions in respect of food, houses and consumer goods.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

Places in the area of the East Kent coalfield, which have predominantly a mining population, will be treated as regards food, housing and consumer goods under the same arrangements as other mining areas.

Mr. Baker White

Is the Prime Minister aware that when the distribution of surplus demobilisation clothing was made in the mining areas, no distribution was made to East Kent?

The Prime Minister

Perhaps the hon. Member will put that observation to the President of the Board of Trade.

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