HC Deb 13 February 1964 vol 689 cc532-3
33. Mr. Hannan

asked the Minister of Power if he is satisfied with the progress made by the Approved Coal Merchants' Scheme towards improving their standard of service to domestic consumers; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peyton

The progress of this scheme is a matter for the trade and the National Coal Board, but I have noted with satisfaction that members of the scheme are now responsible for the distribution of some 86 per cent. of the house coal supplies in the country.

Mr. Hannan

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the price of coal to the consumer increases in ratio to the lower income groups? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this was first spoken about by his predecessor as far back as 1960 and the scheme was introduced in 1962? Can we be told how many retail coal merchants there are in the country and how many of them are in this scheme?

Mr. Peyton

I understand that 86 per cent. of the house coal delivered in this country is handled by members of the scheme. I should add that the National Coal Board is considering with the trade what can be done with the other 14 per cent.