§ 75. Mr. Ellis Smith
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what will be the dollar cost of petrol this financial year and in a full financial year, respectively; and what is the anticipated increase in petrol consumption over last year.
§ Mr. P. Noel-Baker
I estimate that imports of motor spirit into the United Kingdom in the financial year 1950–51 from dollar sources, involving payment in dollars, will cost about 35 million dollars (£12½ million). There is also, of course, a dollar element in the oil produced by British companies; but, as I said on 15th May, in answer to the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot), it is impossible to say how much of this should be attributed to the petrol which they bring here.
I said when petrol was de-rationed, on 26th May, that it might mean an increased consumption of about one million tons a year. It is too soon to say whether this estimate is right, but, in any event, this will not affect the figure I have given since the additional petrol imported from dollar sources as a result of de-rationing will be paid for in sterling.
§ Sir W. Smithers
I think the right hon. Gentleman mentioned 35 million dollars. What rate of exchange did he use to reduce them to pounds?