LORD BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH
My Lords, I beg to ask His Majesty's Government whether it is a fact that the new conditions and Regulations regarding the supply of coal for the metropolis are to come into force early in July, and, if so, when we may expect to see the text of the Regulations.
§ LORD STANMORE
My Lords, the Household Fuel and Lighting Order, 1918, appears in to-day's Gazette. The Order will date from July 1, and will therefore come into force at once. The Order should have appeared last Friday, but owing to a serious difficulty in printing, caused by the influenza epidemic, it has been impossible to produce it before to-day.
If the Order dates from. July 1, I hope the offences are not 546 retrospective. We are used to a good many unusual things now, but we shall not, I hope, find when the Order appears that we have committed offences that we did not know of. I hope that the noble Lord will be able to tell us that the Order will contain something intelligible. I have heard all sorts of statements about equivalent values of tons of coal and units of electric light, and what you may do in regard to one thing and what you may do in regard to another. It is frightfully complicated and difficult to understand, and I think the noble Lord will probably agree that, with the best will in the world to obey the law and not to commit criminal offences, it is very difficult, because the Orders are so hard to understand and to remember. I hope this Order is full and clear.
§ LORD STANMORE
I think the noble Earl will find that these equivalents are made very clear in the Order.