HC Deb 28 November 1955 vol 546 c1907
2. Mr. Braine

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is satisfied with the working of the summer price concession scheme for coal; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

The scheme has proved its value over the last six years in encouraging merchants and consumers to lay down stocks in the summer and thus lessen the difficulties of distribution during the winter. It was less successful this year than previously, chiefly on account of the dislocation of coal supplies by strikes.

Mr. Braine

Is my hon. Friend aware that in some areas merchants collectively agreed not to give the advantage of the summer price concession to people who ordered their coal after 25th May, notwithstanding the fact that the same merchants advertised the advantages of the summer price scheme, and that many of my constituents—perhaps many others as well—feel that they have been treated unfairly? In those circumstances, and in order to safeguard the scheme, will my hon. Friend ensure that this practice does not continue next year?

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

I am afraid that what my hon. Friend says is true. There was a considerable amount of disappointment with this scheme which was very helpfully put forward by the merchants, but, as I said in my Answer, it was upset by the dislocation of rail traffic. My right hon. Friend is in consultation with the federation to try to ensure that next year it is worked more flexibly and better.

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