HC Deb 29 October 1919 vol 120 cc722-3W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that anthracite coal is now unprocurable and that this is mainly caused by large exportations of it to foreign countries; and whether, in view of the fact that many householders have provided themselves with anthracite stoves at the instigation of the Government to promote economy in the use of fuels, he will take steps to ensure that our own people have a sufficient supply of this commodity before he allows further exportations of it to take place?


I am aware that there is difficulty in meeting the demand for anthracite coal, which has recently been greatly increased chiefly through the installation of a very large number of additional stoves in private houses, and through the increased requirements of masters for brewing purposes. Every effort is being made to meet the domestic situation, and for this purpose exports have been reduced to the minimum, but the difficulty is the limited capacity of the railways for dealing with the increased anthracite traffic for inland destinations. I am informed that this matter is receiving the attention of the Ministry of Transport, and in the meantime arrangements are being made to relieve the situation in the Metropolitan area so far as possible by seaborne deliveries.