HC Deb 03 December 1920 vol 135 cc1616-7W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that during the miners' strike the system of permits for the shipping of coal was instituted; that though it was to be a merely temporary expedient it is still being continued; that ships at various ports are waiting to coal but are unable to do so owing to the absence of permits; and whether the system of permits will now be abandoned?


I am not clear to what the hon. Member refers. All the temporary restrictions instituted during the recent strike were removed as soon as the strike was ended. But it was necessary before the strike, and it is still necessary, to obtain permits to export coal abroad, and also to ship coal from the Mersey to Ireland and elsewhere. The first restriction must remain as long as control over export coal is necessary. The second was instituted in order that undue quantities of coal should not be shipped to the detriment of consumers in Lancashire and elsewhere. Until the position created by the recent strike has been remedied, I do not feel justified in altering this system, but the Mines Department is keeping the situation under careful and constant observation.