HC Deb 15 December 1953 vol 522 cc188-9
33. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government why it has been decided that an Exchequer grant to the Smoke Abatement Society would not be appropriate at the present time, in view of the recommendation of 13 leading fuel experts that financial assistance should be given.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

The National Smoke Abatement Society has been doing valuable work for many years as an independent body financed by subscriptions. I believe that its independent status is one of its assets. As the hon. Member may know, a new and independent organisation has now been set up by the British Productivity Council to develop the fuel efficiency advisory services to industry.

Mr. Dodds

Does the right hon. Gentleman know that the Smoke Abatement Society would very much like more finance to do better work than it has already done? Does he think we can ignore their help? If so, will he say how long it will be before any practical steps are taken to attack this menace?

Mr. Macmillan

That is quite a different question. I still think—although I am open to reconsider it—that these independent societies, of which there are now two, are more powerful and do better work if they maintain independence.

Mr. Gaitskell

Will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider the question of a grant to the Smoke Abatement Society, as he agrees they have done very valuable work and, I think, there are many precedents for such a course?