41. Air-Commodore Harvey
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will make a statement regarding the extent to which the National Coal Board acts as a retailer in supplying householders with coal direct
§ Mr. P. Noel-Baker
Under the Coal Mines Act, 1946, a number of retail businesses which had been owned by colliery companies were transferred to the National Coal Board. In paragraph 285 of the Annual Report for 1947, the Board said that they were working about 840 retail depots, which served about 410,000 retail customers. I understand that the position has not greatly changed since then.
is the Minister aware that many coal merchants in the north-west of England have been unable to get their allocation of coal, and that in consequence householders have been without fuel? Will he see that there are fair shares for all?
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
Yes, Sir, certainly, and there are. The allocation of coal to each region or district is done on a perfectly fair basis for all.
In view of the very unsatisfactory reply, I give notice that I shall endeavour to raise this matter on the Adjournment at an early date.