HC Deb 31 January 1949 vol 460 cc1361-2
20. Mr. H. D. Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what petrol ration is allowed to civilians in the British zone of Germany; and what was the total quantity of petrol issued for this purpose in 1948.

Mr. McNeil

There is no petrol ration in the British zone, as the term is understood in this country. The total amount of petrol placed at the disposal of the German economy by the Occupying Powers is allocated by the bizonal German authorities to the Land Administrations, by them to the Kreis authorities and by these in turn to individual Germans, ostensibly for essential purposes only. In 1948 German civil consumption of petrol in the British zone was approximately 306,000 tons.

Mr. Hughes

Has my right hon. Friend's attention been drawn to the statement by the Regional Commissioner on 21st January that the German population were wasting petrol on luxury motoring, and is he satisfied that the regulations for the issue of petrol are sufficiently stringent and that there is no widespread evasion on the black market; and if he is not, should not steps be taken to reduce supplies of petrol to these German authorities?

Mr. McNeil

I am satisfied that there is no widespread evasion, but I cannot pretend that we are quite satisfied with the position. My hon. Friend is in process of making a further investigation upon this subject, which will not necessarily be followed by further decree or regulation.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Does the right hon. Gentleman really mean to tell the House that German civilians are not rationed for petrol, whereas British civilians are?

Mr. McNeil

I meant to make it quite plain that German civilians are in a much worse category. I need not apologise for that. They have no ration or entitlement to a ration, as we understand it. They are permitted petrol only for certain specific and licensed purposes.