HC Deb 15 May 1947 vol 437 cc1706-7
72. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will make a statement regarding the present position of the conversion from coal to oil programme; and if permits are still being granted for this purpose.

Mr. Gaitskell

I am not yet in a position to add to the statement which my right hon. Friend made on 24th April in reply to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Swingler). No permits for the use of fuel oil are being issued at present except for schemes which have already been approved within the limit of 5 million tons of oil per annum, referred to in that statement.

Mr. Lipson

Will the hon. Gentleman reconsider the decision indicated in the latter part of his answer, and grant further facilities for the extension of the important conversion from coal to oil programme?

Mr. Gaitskell

The difficulty is that at present all the facilities available up to the middle of 1948 are already fully taken, and we have to consider very seriously whether, beyond that date, we shall require to import further oil in place of coal.

Mr. Henry Usborne

When the Minister says that all facilities are used up, what precisely does he mean by "facilities"? Does he mean that all the available oil which he has imported is used up, or does he mean that the facilities for burning the oil are used up?

Mr. Gaitskell

I mean that it will take until the middle of 1948 to carry out all the installations and other improvements necessary for this oil to be burnt.