HC Deb 14 April 1919 vol 114 cc2567-8W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the local fuel and lighting committee of the Maesteg urban area issued a new schedule of prices on 27th March which increased the price of coal to the consumer for domestic purposes; whether such schedule was issued with his sanction; and whether, having regard to the Report of Mr. Justice Sankey, published on 20th March, which provided that the improvements in miners' wages and hours recommended therein should be conceded without any increase in the price of coal to the consumer, he will issue instructions to the local committee requiring them to revert to the prices prevailing on 20th March?


The Controller of Coal Mines is advised that the local fuel and lighting committee of the Maesteg urban district has permitted an increase of 2s. in the maximum price of coal delivered by the ton only to cover the actual ascertained increased costs of cartage, etc. The maximum price upon which this increase is permitted dates back to December, 1917, since which period there undoubtedly have occurred advances on costs. The Controller has provisionally approved the increase.


asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that, in consequence of the refusal of the owners to reinstate demobilised soldiers in their former employment and places, several large collieries in South Wales, employing some thousands of workmen, were laid idle for some days in March, thus seriously interfering with the output of coal and materially increasing the cost of the same; and will he consider in any future legislation what steps can be taken to the effect that the increase thus incurred in similar cases shall not add to the price of household coal to the general public?


I have been asked to reply. I can only trace one stoppage in March for the reason given by the hon. and gallant Member. There was a misunderstanding about the transfer of a demobilised soldier from one place to another, and 2,500 men stopped work, but the stoppage only lasted one day. I do not think that this incident calls for any special legislation.