HC Deb 17 February 1949 vol 461 cc1317-8
2. Mr. Osborne

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if, in the discussions that are about to take place regarding the petrol allowance to commercial travellers, he will specially bear in mind the needs of firms who supply farmers in rural areas and, if possible, make them a special allocation.

12. Brigadier Medlicott

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that commercial travellers representing firms who supply farmers are particularly in need of extra petrol; and if he will now arrange for some special additional allowance to be made to such travellers.

Mr. Gaitskell

I refer the hon. Members to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Solihull (Mr. M. Lindsay) on 3rd February. I cannot agree to a further increase in the maximum allowances for commercial travellers engaged in a particular class of business.

Mr. Osborne

Could the right hon. Gentleman tell the House when he is likely to make a statement as a result of the negotiations now going on?

Mr. Gaitskell

I did so on 3rd February.

Brigadier Medlicott

Is it not a fact that these particular commercial travellers have the maximum area to cover; and in view of the fact that the work of many of them has been brought to a standstill near the end of the period, would the Minister not review this application?

Mr. Gaitskell

We have just had a long discussion with the representatives of commercial travellers to see whether we could devise a system whereby the ration varied according to the area covered. This has been found to be impracticable, and is recognised to be impracticable by all concerned. I have, however, increased the maximum allowance.

Sir Waldron Smithers

What is the good of the Minister of Agriculture appealing for increased production when the Minister of Fuel and Power withholds what is really the raw material of agriculture?

Mr. Gaitskell

There is no evidence that agriculture has been impeded.