HC Deb 29 October 1947 vol 443 cc869-71
51. Commander Noble

asked the Minister of Defence what cuts have been made in the petrol allocation of the Services since 1st May and 1st August, respectively.

Mr. Alexander

In the early part of the year all the Services were under direct instructions to exercise the most rigid economy in the consumption of fuel. In the consideration of the whole question, which took place before the statement on the import programme by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 30th June last, it was clear that more specific economies would have to be enforced. In subsequent consultation with the Service Ministers it was decided to impose rationing schemes at home and make economies overseas which, I understand, will effect an over-all saving of at least 10 per cent.

Mr. A. R. W. Low

Will the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that this does not in any way affect training efficiency?

Mr. Alexander

That depends upon what is meant by every aspect of efficiency. I dare say that if we have to ration fuel in certain respects, we may-not be able to have quite the same number of operational exercises.

Mrs. Leah Manning

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the cuts in consumption to which he referred have also been effected in the use of petrol by the Control Commission for Germany? Is that part of the cut, or is it separate?

Mr. Alexander

I think it would be better if my hon. Friend put that question down. As a matter of fact, the Army does provide the whole of the petrol for itself and the Control Commission, but that specific question should be put down.

Mr. Frank Byers

When the right hon. Gentleman said that it has been decided to impose a rationing scheme, does that mean that the petrol was not rationed before August of this year?

Mr. Alexander

It means exactly what I said. They were placed under rigid economy to meet the demands, and the commanders-in-chief and commanding officers were under strict orders to economise.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Does not that mean that the Services are going to spend £20,000,000 on petrol this year?

Mr. Granville Sharp

In view of the large reduction in the number of men in the Forces and the reduction still to be made, is it not possible to arrange for further petrol cuts beyond the mere 10 per cent.?

Mr. Alexander

I am hoping that we can still obtain further economies.

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