HC Deb 13 February 1956 vol 548 cc2056-7
30. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what recent instructions he has given to his fuel overseers as to the advice which they tender to persons complaining about the quality of coal supplied to them.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

Local fuel overseers have standing instructions to advise householders to make their complaints to their merchants between whom and the National Coal Board there is an established procedure for dealing with such complaints.

Mr. Fletcher

Is the Minister aware that I receive an increasing number of complaints about the poor quality of coal supplied by coal merchants in North London? Does he not agree that it is desirable that the remedies open to members of the public should be known as widely as possible?

Mr. Jones

Surely the remedies lie, first, in the relation of the customer to the retailer and, beyond that, of the retailer to the supplier.

Mr. Baldwin

Does my right hon. Friend not think it is time that domestic coal users were taken from under the wing of the fuel overseer and were allowed to buy their coal wherever they wish? Is not that the only way in which they can obtain the quality they want?

Mr. Jones

I should be delighted if I were in a position to abolish the rationing of domestic coal, but I hardly think that the supply and demand position is propitious.