HC Deb 29 January 1948 vol 446 c1202
74. Mr. Erroll

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how much of the estimated saving of £9,000,000 per annum in foreign exchange as the result of the reduction in the consumption of petrol can be attributed to the abolition of basic; and how much to other economies.

75. Mr. Heathcoat Amory

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what is the actual or estimated dollar saving to the latest convenient date resulting from the abolition of the basic petrol ration.

Mr. Gaitskell

I would refer the hon. Members to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Philips Price) on 21st January.

Mr. Erroll

Is it not a fact that the abolition of the basic ration accounts for little more than one-half of the total savings?

Mr. Gaitskell

About four-fifths.

Mr. Amory

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether he has made any allowance for the loss of foreign currency consequent on the abolition of the basic petrol ration? Does he not now agree that an equivalent saving could have been attained by alternative economy measures involving far less hardship, frustration and loss of time to the community, and much less wasted time on the part of the hard-pressed police?

Mr. Gaitskell

The statistics to which I have referred related only to the direct saving; they did not take into account either indirect savings or indirect losses.

Mr. De la Bère

Is not the whole thing a tragic blunder?

Mr. Peter Roberts

Will the Minister say whether, in the figures he gave previously, the 10 per cent. overall cut for all petrol users was taken into account?

Mr. Gaitskell

Yes, Sir.