HC Deb 25 November 1948 vol 458 cc1393-4
24. Mr. William Shepherd

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he has now given further consideration to the inadequacy of the petrol allocation to commercial travellers; and whether, in view of the more competitive selling conditions now prevailing, he is prepared to increase the present allocation.

25. Mr. Sidney Shephard

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he has now considered the scheme for a more equitable allowance of petrol for commercial travellers, submitted to him by their organisation; and if he has any statement to make.

28. Mrs. Leah Manning

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware of the hardship caused to commercial travellers with wide territories through the allocation of their petrol being based only on the horse-power of the car they use, with no relation to the amount of business they have to undertake, or the size of their territories; and what steps he is taking to remove it.

Mr. Gaitskell

I will answer these Questions by referring to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Teeling) last week to which, at present, I have nothing to add.

Mr. W. Shepherd

Why is the right hon. Gentleman not mindful of the urgency of this matter? Does he realise that there are thousands of commercial travellers whose cars are completely laid up now and who are unable to pursue their work? Does he also realise that it means that the firms are taking on two and three travellers and having to get two and three petrol allocations in order to do what was previously done by one commercial traveller?

Mr. Gaitskell

I am, of course, perfectly well aware that many commercial travellers are dissatisfied with their petrol allowances. I am also aware that many other people are dissatisfied with their petrol allowances. It is not an easy task to hold the balance between these conflicting claims. Moreover, the plan of the commercial travellers is an extremely complicated one and must be most carefully examined.

Mr. S. Shephard

Is it not a fact that the Minister has agreed in principle to a greater allocation of petrol for commercial travellers. Is he still considering the scheme which has been put forward?

Mr. Gaitskell

I have not agreed to any increased allocation as yet. I am considering the scheme that has been put forward.

Mrs. Manning

Will my right hon. Friend give particular consideration to men who work on a commission basis, to whom this has meant a great loss of trade and sometimes almost half their income?

Mr. Gaitskell

We will certainly bear that point in mind as well as all the other matters which are raised by the association.

Mr. Jennings

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that one of the difficulties in this matter is that the regional petroleum officers are governed by a maximum allowance which has no relation whatever to the mileage covered by a particular traveller?

Mr. Gaitskell

That is precisely the point we are considering with the Cornmercial Travellers' Association.

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