asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will endeavour to increase the speed of repairs to petrol pumps where persons affected desire to be their own suppliers; will he consider deferring the date, 1st November, 1944, when the increased charges from Is. 11d. to 2s. 1½d. per gallon are to be imposed, as this is a hardship on contractors and others who use hundreds of gallons of petrol in a month and have no say or responsibility for putting the necessary work in hand.
Major Lloyd George
The responsibility for maintaining petrol storage equipment on sites closed under the Petroleum (No. 3) Order, 1940, rests with the owners, and it is for owners to take their own steps to get such equipment into working order. In order, however, to assist owners as far as possible, the Petroleum Board have agreed to make available the services of their fitters for the execution of any necessary repairs, provided the cost of any materials or spare parts is defrayed by the owners. As many thousands of sites are involved, it will under present conditions be a considerable time before all applications for assistance can be dealt with. A large number of pumps have, however, been put into operation by the Board's staff in the past four weeks, and the work is continuing as quickly as possible. As regards charges, every commercial consumer with a bulk storage who has an equipment in working order is able to purchase his supplies of petrol from the Petroleum Board at the current wholesale price (Is. 10d. per gallon), less any rebate to which he may be entitled; every commercial consumer who is entitled to a rebate on account of the quantity he buys can obtain supplies from the Petroleum Board's depots at the price of Is. 11d. per gallon: and all other commercial consumers pay the current retail price (2s. 1½d. per gallon). In these circumstances I do not feel that any change in the date specified in the revoking Order is justifiable or practicable.