HC Deb 06 October 1942 vol 383 cc1090-1W
Captain P. Macdonald

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the procedure adopted in the 1914–18 war for the restriction of fuel and how it compares with the procedure advocated to-day?

Major Lloyd George

Restriction of fuel consumption in the 1914–18 war was introduced on a national scale in June, 1918, with the Household Fuel and Lighting Order, 1918. This Order provided for a graduated scale of fuel allowances based on the number of habitable rooms in each household. The allowances, though expressed in terms of coal, could be converted into other fuels in accordance with a fixed table of equivalents. In addition, there was an allowance of electricity or gas for lighting, which might be utilised for other domestic purposes, though it could not be converted into coal. Coupons were not used. The administration of the 1918 scheme was entrusted to local fuel overseers, appointed by the local authorities and assisted by local fuel and lighting committees. In practice, the restrictions for gas and electricity were never operated. The rationing of coal was relaxed in July, 1919, and ceased to operate by the end of the year. In the present war, three methods for restricting fuel consumption have been advocated. First, restriction of deliveries to enable the available supplies to be spread as evenly as possible. This is in operation and regulated by Directions under the Fuel and Lighting Registration and Distribution Order, 1942, which restrict the maximum quantity of solid fuel which may be furnished or acquired for consumption in controlled premises, and also fix a limit to the stock of solid fuel which a consumer may have when additional supplies are furnished to him: Secondly a rationing scheme, as set out in the Government's White Paper on Coal on June, 1942; Thirdly an intensive Fuel Economy Campaign covering the whole of the industrial field, and a wide range of non-industrial establishments, and domestic consumers. It is not possible, within the limits of question and answer, to compare the details of the schemes operating in 1914–18 with those of the present war, but if my hon. and gallant Friend wishes to have further information I shall be glad if he will let me know.