HC Deb 30 July 1956 vol 557 cc898-900
13. Mr. R. Bell

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the total annual tonnage of concessionary coal now being allowed in the coal industry; to what total number of people it is being allowed; and to what total annual tonnage those people would be entitled as ordinary members of the community.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

About 5 million tons, issued to some 630,000 employees of the Board and to certain pensioners, miners' widows, etc. If these people were ordinary members of the community, their total permitted quantity of house coal and boiler fuel would amount to nearly three million tons. In addition many of them would be entitled to the extra allowances available to ordinary members of the public for cooking and other special circumstances; they could also increase their indirect use of coal by greater consumption of electricity, coke and gas.

Mr. Callaghan

Is the Minister aware that among other concessions which are granted are luncheon vouchers to typists in the City of London, cheap cigarettes to tobacco workers, motors cars at reduced prices to motor car workers, country houses to directors of B.S.A., Daimlers and mink to Sir Bernard Docker, and is he aware that we are getting tired of this constant nagging from the benches opposite about miners' concessionary coal?

Mr. Bell

Does my right hon. Friend agree that he is not responsible for most of the articles mentioned by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), but that I should be quite pleased to put down Questions about them to the appropriate Ministers?

Mr. T. Williams

Does not the Minister deprecate such Questions as this, knowing full well that they are calculated to frustrate the efforts of the National Coal Board in recruiting miners?

17. Lieut.-Colonel Cordeaux

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will give a general direction to the National Coal Board to arrange that widows and other dependants of its employees receiving a concessionary coal allowance, resulting from the voluntary surrender of a part of their entitlement by the employees of a particular colliery or area, may, if they leave that district, continue to receive this allowance from the nearest colliery, thus avoiding the heavy charges for transport that they will otherwise have to meet.

Mr. Renton

This is a matter for negotiation between the National Coal Board and the trade unions representing its employees, but I am sure that the Board and the unions will take note of my hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion.

Lieut.-Colonel Cordeaux

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that that is much the same reply as that which I have received over the last four months from two successive Chairmen of the National Coal Board? Is he further aware that a lady who, when living at Bolsover, paid 4s. for the transport of a load of coal from the Bolsover colliery, is paying £2 6s. for a load from the same colliery now that she has moved to Nottingham? Is it really beyond the wit of the National Coal Board to make the necessary adjustments in the books of the colliery concerned so that this lady can have her coal from the nearest colliery? Further, is it not a waste of manpower that a lorry should have to go over 40 miles from Bolsover to Nottingham and back when the lady could have her coal from the colliery nearest to where she now lives, instead of from the original colliery?

Mr. Renton

As I have said, this is a matter for the Board and for the unions, and it would not be appropriate for my right hon. Friend to intervene. But I am sure that they will take note of what my hon. and gallant Friend has said.