HC Deb 04 July 1955 vol 543 cc756-7
28 and 29. Mr. V. Yates

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power (1) the amount of coal to be allocated to each householder in Birmingham from the period 1st May to 30th October; how far he estimates that supplies of coal will be available to meet the allocation to all registered applicants; and when he will be in a position to indicate the prospects for next winter;

(2) if the present level of coal stocks in Birmingham compared with the figure 12 months ago.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Allocations of house coal in Birmingham are about the same this summer as they have been for some years past, and no change is expected next winter. Information about stocks held by industrial and other consumers is not available, but on 18th June stocks of house coal in merchants' yards stood at 9,700 tons compared with 3,200 tons a year ago.

Mr. Yates

How does the Minister square this position with the statement made in the "Coal Merchant and Shipper" on Saturday last, that in the West Midlands stocks at depôts are almost non-existent? In view of the serious position last winter in Birmingham, can the Minister say how we are to meet the situation in the coming winter, even if old-age pensioners are making unprecedented demands at this time of the year?

Mr. Lloyd

I think the position is that the situation is changing rapidly both because of the disturbances due to the railway strike and the efforts being made to put the situation right.

38. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what the coal stocks are in London at present; and how they compare with the corresponding date last year.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Stocks of coal, anthracite and boiler fuel at merchants' depôts in London amounted to 81,500 tons at 18th June, 1955, compared with 100,000 tons a year ago.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is not this a very serious diminution in stocks in London? What is the Minister doing about it?

Mr. Lloyd

This diminution of stocks in London—I would not at the moment call it a serious diminution—is due quite simply to the fact that we had a devastating railway strike a few weeks ago. The Coal Board, in consultation with the merchants, is now engaged in redistributing the stocks in the country so as to bring up the stocks in the southern region, which, naturally, suffered most when the railway strike took place.

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