HC Deb 23 June 1958 vol 590 c12
20. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Paymaster-General how many coal price increases in the last eight years have been increases granted to the coal distributors; and what percentage increase the total represents over the price obtaining in 1950.

Sir I. Horobin

Since 1950, the merchants net profit margin has been raised from 1s. to 2s. 9d. per ton. Over this period there have been eight annual increases and nine interim increases to cover increases in wages and other major costs. The increase in merchants' costs and profits since 1950 is about 15 per cent. of the average retail price in 1950.

Mr. Hamilton

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether, consequent to the de-rationing of coal, or even before that becomes effective, distributors will be given permission to raise their prices, or do they not require the permission of the Minister for that?

Sir I. Horobin

Between now and the time of decontrol, which we hope will be in a matter of weeks, I do not think that question will arise.