HC Deb 22 April 1948 vol 449 cc1992-4
30. Mr. George Jeger

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will make a special concession to agricultural interests by allowing farmers and farm workers to obtain an extra allowance of petrol in May, the only summer month free from haymaking and harvesting.

Mr. Robens

No, Sir. I regret that it is not possible to make the standard ration available to any individuals or classes prior to 1st June.

Mr. Jeger

Will the Parliamentary Secretary consider allowing farmers to issue petrol from their bulk supplies, either to themselves or to their farm-workers, and reimburse the issues from the standard ration later on.

Mr. Robens

No, Sir.

33. Mr. Turton

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that housewives and elderly people in country areas will suffer disproportionate hardship by their exclusion from the standard ration, and that their need for a holiday is as great as any other section of the community; and whether he will reconsider his proposals for the standard ration so as to include an additional allowance for housewives and elderly people in country areas who are at present receiving supplementary petrol.

Mr. Robens

I regret that I have nothing to add to the reply my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) in the Adjournment Debate on Tuesday last on the position of motorists who receive supplementary allowances

Mr. Turton

Will the Parliamentary Secretary make it clear, as his right hon. Friend did not, that the regional petroleum officers will be able to review cases of particular hardship, and increase the ration in those cases?

Mr. Robens

The regional petroleum officers are ready at all times to look into cases when the facts are given to them.

69. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what additional petrol would be required over a six months' period to allow the standard ration to those in receipt at present of a petrol allowance for essential purposes; and will he now agree to do this.

Mr. Robens

It is estimated that, if the standard ration were to be given in full in addition to supplementary allowances, consumption of motor spirit during the first six monthly period would be increased by about 120,000 tons at an approximate cost of five and a half roil-lion dollars. With regard to the last part the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend made to the Motion on the Adjournment on 20th April, in which he explained that in view of the dollar position, the Government cannot agree to any further increase in petrol consumption.

Mr. Lipson

Is it not a very doubtful policy to tempt motorists, who have acquired petrol allowances for essential purposes, to use them for pleasure motoring, and in view of that and the sense of injustice which the decision has created, will he ask his right hon. Friend to see if petrol cannot be made available from the sterling area to remove this anomaly?

Mr. Robens

I am surprised to hear about the temptation, because we are being persuaded by hon. Members opposite that E and S users only get sufficient to cover essential journeys which are necessary to their business. It is quite clear, therefore, that temptation does not really exist.

Mr. Osborne

Would the Minister reconsider bringing forward the date from 1st June to cover the Whitsuntide weekend, because it would affect a large number of working people.

Mr. Robens

I have already today replied to a Question on that matter. It is impossible to introduce the standard ration earlier than 1st June.

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