HC Deb 30 November 1953 vol 521 cc743-4
13. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how much nutty slack has been sold to the public.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

About 490,000 tons.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

This is a very small part of the total fuel consumption. Having already urged domestic consumers to use less nutty slack and more smokeless fuel, when will the Minister stop foisting this wretched smoke-producing stuff on the public?

Mr. Lloyd

The first consideration we have to bear in mind with regard to coal supplies at present is that of keeping the country warm in the extremities of the winter. I have pointed out that there are plentiful supplies of coke, which is the best smokeless fuel now available for householders.

Mr. P. Roberts

Can my right hon. Friend say what the house coal stocks are at the moment?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir. Generally speaking, there are good stocks of coal and coke for the domestic consumer. The House will remember that the Government took special measures with regard to the house coal position during the height of the summer, but that was based upon ordinary winter weather. The wonderful weather we have been having is not only agreeable individually, but is a piece of national good fortune, because it enables us to keep up the rate of exports and maintain a good house coal position. But it conceals a hidden danger in that people are being lulled by the warm weather, and coal merchants tell me that they are not ordering in the usual way. The weather may well take revenge on us for its warmth by giving us a specially cold period later and I would urge people to take advantage of this warm spell to stock up for Christmas and the coming months.