HC Deb 03 December 1951 vol 494 cc2002-3
18. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will state for each of the last five years how much coal was used in, produced in, imported into and exported from Scotland; and what he estimates will be the corresponding figures for the present year.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Hughes

Can the Minister state now whether he can so organise his distribution of coal that Scottish coal will be used as far as possible in Scotland and in this way save freight charges?

Mr. Lloyd

I understand that as a result of arrangements going back some time, it is useful for certain grades of Scottish coal to cross the Border and also for certain types of English coal which are required in Scotland to go the other way.

Following is the reply:

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

The maximum permitted quantity is, in general, related to the needs of the ordinary domestic household. Hotels and blocks of flats are typical examples of larger premises, whose minimum needs in most cases exceed the maximum permitted quantity, and, where the local fuel overseer is satisfied that this is so, licences are issued for additional supplies.

Mr. Hobson

Is the Minister aware that these establishments have not had any cut in their supplies of fuel but that the ordinary domestic consumer has had his supplies cut by the terms of the recent announcement? Does the right hon. Gentleman think that this is fair and reasonable?

Mr. Lloyd

These establishments have had a cut in relation to that part of their total fuel allowance which is accounted for by the maximum permitted quantity. It is true, however, that they have not had a cut with regard to the additional amounts allowed by the local fuel overseer. That is the kind of trouble which is inevitable when cuts of this kind have to be put into effect at short notice as the winter is approaching, because, I am advised, it would involve the issue of one million extra authorisations, which, I am afraid, the organisation is not able to do.

Mr. A. C. Manuel

Will the Minister have a look at this question again, because it seems apparent that fires are much easier kept going, and heating is much more easily effected, in establishments of this type than in many hundreds of individual homes? Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is better to have the heating in individual homes rather than in hotels of this kind?

Mr. Lloyd

I have sympathy with what the hon. Member is suggesting, but I have explained that it is not practicable, in the time, to do what we should like to do.

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