HC Deb 06 February 1957 vol 564 cc438-40
31. Mr. Collins

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he is satisfied that the arrangements he has made for the allocation of supplementary petrol to furniture manufacturers with C licence vehicles are working satisfactorily; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Watkinson

Yes, Sir. If any furniture manufacturer is in difficulty as the result of the decision of a local office he should appeal as quickly as possible to the district transport officer, and if necessary from him to the Regional Transport Commissioner. I am satisfied that the special problems of the furniture manufacturers are well known to Regional Transport Commissioners, and I am sure that they will be as helpful as possible in dealing with applications from them.

Mr. Collins

Is the Minister aware that, after reconsideration, some firms have received adequate and even generous allowances, under the circumstances, whereas others, with an apparently equal claim, have received nothing or almost nothing? The machinery which he has outlined involves considerable delay. Will he look into that aspect of the matter and see why there is this apparent differentiation?

Mr. Watkinson

The differentiation which the hon. Member mentioned probably arises between firms which have carried out the full appeal procedure and firms which have not. I do not think that any firm which has a genuine case and goes through the appeal procedure will not get a fair deal. It may not get quite as much as it would like but it will not be left entirely without petrol.

Mr. Hamilton

Could the Minister give an assurance that the differentiation which existed in allocations between Scottish manufacturers and manufacturers in the South has been eliminated?

Mr. Watkinson

My general impression is that Scotland has done rather better than England.

Hon. Members


Mr. Watkinson

It always does.

35. Dr. King

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will make a statement on the supply of supplementary petrol to members of the Association of Retail Furnishers, in view of the urgent representations which he has received from that body.

Mr. Watkinson

If any retail furnisher is in difficulties over his supplementary ration he should appeal to the district transport officer, setting out his case clearly. My Regional Transport Commissioners are aware of the problems of retail distribution of furniture and will consider sympathetically all such cases.

Dr. King

While thanking the Minister for what he has done to ease the serious position since the Association asked some of us to take this matter up, may I ask whether he is aware that there is still a wide divergence between district and district in the allocation of supplementary petrol for retail furnishers? Will he see that the various districts carry out what we hope is his general policy of supplying supplementary petrol when the men's employment depends on it?

Mr. Watkinson

If the hon. Member has any special cases, I hope he will let me have them.