HC Deb 20 November 1947 vol 444 cc1323-4
30. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what saving he anticipates obtaining in the consumption of petrol from his recent decision to cancel the petrol allowance previously granted to civilian and military personnel on leave from overseas.

Mr. Gaitskell

No estimate can be given without a detailed examination of the records of the Regional Petroleum Offices, which would not be justified in present circumstances.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Does that answer mean that the right hon. Gentleman came to his decision to abolish the grants without knowing how much could be saved, and, if that is so, how could he possibly have balanced the anticipated saving which he did not know against the inevitable hardship which he has caused?

Mr. Gaitskell

Obviously if no estimate was available it could not have been taken into account when a decision was made. As I have already pointed out to the hon. Member on earlier occasions, this decision was taken because, in view of the abolition of the basic ration, it was not considered reasonable and fair that this special allowance should continue to be granted.

41. Mrs. Middleton

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power to what extent allocations of petrol are being made to shooting parties for the purpose of travel to and from coverts and for bringing back game; and whether a condition is attached to any such allocation that the food so procured is made available either to the general public or to public institutions.

Mr. Gaitskell

Where the use of public transport is not practicable, limited allowances of petrol are granted to shooting parties for short journeys when a substantial amount of game is likely to be made available for human consumption or where damage to crops would otherwise occur. No other conditions are attached to the allocation.

Mrs. Middleton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that such game as is obtained by this means would add a very useful item of variety to the diet of sick and convalescent people? Therefore, will he enter into discussion with the Minister of Food in regard to the matter?

Mr. Gaitskell

I do not think it is really for me to decide what should happen to the game, but I will certainly draw my right hon. Friend's attention to that point.

61. Commander Noble

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether car owners who live in towns and who wish to lay up their cars in the country are being granted a supplementary allowance for this one journey.

Mr. Gaitskell

Yes, Sir, in bona fide cases.

67. Mr. Butcher

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many additional staff were recruited by his Department to deal with the increased number of applications for supplementary petrol allowances; and what training they were given before they entered upon their duties.

Mr. Gaitskell

An additional 197 staff have been recruited during the past two months, and 60 officers borrowed from other branches of the Ministry and other Departments. Selected officers already serving in regional petroleum offices have been given a special course of training in assessment work, and been replaced in more routine duties by the new recruits.

Mr. Butcher

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware of some of the extraordinary decisions that are being made in the regional petroleum offices at present?

Mr. Gaitskell

No doubt from time to time mistakes are made but, on the whole, they are doing very good work.