HC Deb 12 March 1951 vol 485 cc1056-7
42. Mr. Langford-Holt

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power in view of the coal shortage this winter, what plans he is now making for the winter of 1951–52 to ensure a sufficient coal reserve for the event of a hard winter.

66. Mr. Renton

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that the amount of coal at present available for domestic consumption is less than 30 million tons per annum, compared with over 40 million tons in 1938; and what steps he is taking to increase the amount available for domestic consumption.

72. Mr. Bossom

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what special provision he is making this year to ensure that the horticulturists who have to have heated greenhouses will be enabled to obtain the essential fuel supplies.

75. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he can state the policy of His Majesty's Government in regard to coal exports from the United Kingdom during the nine months, April to December, 1951; and how the total projected coal exports for 1951 will compare with the figure of 17 million tons exported during 1950.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

The question of the supplies of coal to be allocated to exports, to inland consumers and to the building up of adequate winter stocks is now under consideration. I regret that I cannot today anticipate the decisions which will be made.

Mr. Langford-Holt

In view of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman is the authority through whom both imports and exports pass, could he tell us when he will be able to tell the House what fuel stocks he anticipates holding at the beginning of next winter.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes. I will tell the House when the decision has been made.

Mr. Renton

Is the Minister aware that in the last few weeks local coal merchants have frequently been without sufficient coal to meet the domestic ration, and what immediate steps have been taken to prevent those circumstances from arising again?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I believe that coal merchants have not been without sufficient coal to make deliveries but they have been greatly impeded in some weeks by sickness among their workers, as my hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) has said.