HC Deb 07 August 1919 vol 119 cc591-2W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he hag received any representations from local authorities owning electrical undertakings regarding the prejudicial effect of the uniform increase in the price of coal irrespective of the quality; whether he is aware that the Woolwich Borough Council have been notified that, owing to an anticipated reduction in output, supplies of coal from the Midlands are to be prohibited, and that sea-borne coal will have to be substituted; whether he is aware that this will have the effect of withholding supplies of the better-class coal which is necessary to use up large accumulated supplies of slack, and that it will be impossible to generate electricity at a reasonable cost, thus making an increase in the price in-evitable; and whether he will consider the advisability of grading the increase in the price of coal in accordance with the various qualities?

100. Mr. A. SHAW

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the serious position caused to the Kilmarnock electricity undertaking by the recent increase of 6s. in the price of the fuel used for generating current; whether he is aware that this undertaking is prevented from obtaining the better classes of coal, but is confined to the lower grades, the price of which has risen by over 500 per cent.; and whether he proposes to take any action in view of the importance of this undertaking to a large industrial district?


I have received representations as to the effect of a uniform rate of increase in the price of coal on consumers of low-grade qualities of coal for steam-raising purposes. The suggestion which the right hon. Member for Woolwich makes is one that has received very careful consideration, but there are certain practical difficulties in the way of its adoption, and the Government do not see their way at the present moment to propose legislation amending the Price of Coal (Limitation) Act in the way suggested. I may add that the proposal would involve a further considerable addition to the price of house coal.