HC Deb 06 July 1953 vol 517 cc851-2
22 Mr. Erroll

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power (1) when he proposes to make use of the administrative machinery already available for securing the distribution of anthracite and Welsh dry steam nuts on an equitable basis;

(2) why supplies of anthracite and Welsh dry steam nuts to coal merchants are still based on their 1939 deliveries; and whether he will now consider distributing anthracite and Welsh dry steam nuts in accordance with current coal registrations;

(3) whether, in view of the fact that supplies of anthracite and Welsh dry steam nuts to southern areas of England are nearly adequate, he will ensure that a larger quantity is transferred to the North-West of England where supplies are insufficient.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

The supply of anthracite is very short, and it can, therefore, only be assured for the limited number of special appliances which operate on small sizes of anthracite and nothing else. The National Coal Board do their best to share anthracite and the other boiler fuels fairly between merchants. A system of distribution based on statistical returns would mean the sending out of millions of forms, and I do not think that this would be justified. I am glad to say that there are at present ample supplies of coke available in all parts of the country, and merchants should, therefore, be able to keep their customers supplied with fuel suitable for their appliances.

Mr. Erroll

Cannot the Minister look at those many cases where some merchants have larger supplies of anthracite than others and are able to give more generous allocations to their own customers than newer merchants can give to their customers?

Mr. Lloyd

I will look into that matter.