§ Major MORRISON-BELL
asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been drawn to the state of coal supplies in the Honiton, Sidmouth, and Whimple area, and if he will do his utmost to expedite the delivery of the supplies now on order and in the future?
§ Sir R. HORNE
The recognised standard rates per shift, inclusive of War wages, bonuses, &c. (but not including the value of coal allowed), at the dates referred to, were as shown below. In some cases, it is understood that the actual earnings vary somewhat from the standard, but statistics are not available to show the extent of such variation. In Lancashire and Derbyshire the rates are not fixed by general agreements and the wages vary at different works.
Whimple area is receiving attention. Ordinary supplies have been accelerated and orders have been placed for additional coal to be provided.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether his attention has been called to the acute shortage of coal existing in Belfast, Dublin, and other parts of Ireland, as a result of which industries are being seriously threatened and households left without coal for domestic purposes; and whether he will take steps to have immediate provision made for the allocation to Ireland of sufficient coal to meet the needs of the country; and (2) whether his attention has been called to the serious hardships imposed on the poor of Belfast and Dublin, who are unable to obtain even the 1935W smallest supplies of coal because of the shortage now prevailing in these cities; whether this shortage is largely due to the colliery owners being empowered to charge 10s. per ton more for industrial coal than for household coal; and whether he will take immediate steps to provide sufficient coal in Belfast and Dublin to relieve the present shortage and the consequent great distress prevailing?
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
I will answer these two questions together. The question of coal supplies to Ireland both for household and industrial purposes is receiving special attention. Steps are being taken to provide an additional 40,000 tons of coal per month as soon as the necessary shipping tonnage, for which arrangements are being made, is available. No evidence has been produced to show that the shortage of household coal supplies is due to the lower charge of 10s. per ton to which the hon. Member refers.