HC Deb 25 July 1949 vol 467 cc1817-8
52. Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware of the high proportion of dirty coal sent to Bedford compared with other districts; and whether, with a view to helping householders until an adequate supply of screening and other machinery is available to solve the problem on a national scale, he will arrange for the source of Bedford's coal supplies to be at least partially switched to an area producing cleaner and better-quality fuel.

Mr. Gaitskell

The need to export as much good quality coal as possible inevitably influences the quality available for the home market. The coal allocated to Bedford is already drawn from a wide range of areas in three divisions of the National Coal Board and I am not aware of any special complaints recently.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Will my right hon. Friend tell me, for the guidance of my constituents, what commercial procedure they can follow if they really have got an unadjusted grievance, as a great many of them seem to think?

Mr. Gaitskell

There is perfectly well-recognised procedure. I will write to my hon. Friend about it.

Squadron-Leader Fleming

Has there been any appreciable increase in the machinery for treating and washing coal?

Mr. Gaitskell

Yes, Sir. The hon. and gallant Gentleman will see some of the figures in the National Coal Board's Annual Report.

Brigadier Rayner

I cannot allow the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Skeffington-Lodge) the distinction he claims for Bedford. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we get just as dirty coal in South Devonshire?