HC Deb 18 December 1947 vol 445 cc381-4W
87. Mrs. Paton

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that coal merchants in the Carlton District of Nottinghamshire have recently had their supplies for domestic consumers cut by 10 per cent.; if there is to be any further cut during Christmas week; and for how long these arrangements have been in the possession of depot managers.

Mr. Gaitskell

My hon. Friend will appreciate that the plan for allocations of house coal had to be settled many months in advance of the period of operation. The allocations for the present winter were provisionally fixed in June last when it was hoped to provide an appreciable increase in supplies of house coal. When the position was reviewed in October in the light of production during the summer months, the generally serious economic situation and the imperative need for meeting the requirements of industry in full, it was decided that no increase was possible on last winter's actual supplies. The provisional allocations fixed last June were accordingly adjusted as from 1st December. The adjustments affected nearly all areas, the amount depending on local circumstances such as the level of receipts during the summer period and the latest available numbers of registered consumers. In the Carlton district of Nottinghamshire the reduction was over 9 per cent. No further reduction need be expected. With regard to the last part of the Question, depot managers were warned of a forthcoming reduction about the middle of October and were informed of the amount a few days later.

95. Mr. Keenan

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if the supplies of coal for domestic use in the Merseyside area for the winter of 1947–48 can be increased beyond the quantity and weight allocated during the winter of 1946–47, which was insufficient for domestic needs.

Mr. Gaitskell

As I informed the House in the statement I made on 17th December we are giving every possible consideration to the needs of domestic consumers, subject to the requirements of industry and the necessity for exporting coal. I cannot say more at present than that the amount of coal available per household this winter on Merseyside, as in other areas should be at least as much as last year.

100. Commander Pursey

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will state the amount of domestic coal supplied to Hull during the summer six months, 1st May to 31st October; the amount retained as ground stock by merchants; the amount delivered to consumers on special licences; and, after deducting these two amounts, what should have been the average delivery per registration out of the 20 cwt. allocation for that period.

Mr. Gaitskell

During this period referred to receipts of house coal in the Hull district amounted to 120,333 tons, of which 15,163 tons were taken into stock by merchants, and 6,843 tons disposed of under licence. The deliveries excluding licences would average a little less than 18 cwt. per registration.

101. Commander Pursey

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that a domestic coal consumer in Larpent Avenue, Putney, S.W.15, whose name and address have been sent to him, who has three children of school age and an invalid husband confined to bed with active tuberculosis for over six months, has been unable to provide any fire for his room, owing to no coal being delivered to her during the eight months March to November, although registered with J. Dorrington and since 1st October to C. Crowhurst, Limited; and what steps he proposes to take to ensure that this consumer and others registered with these merchants do not lose their summer delivery of the London average of 10 cwt. of coal.

Mr. Gaitskell

I am informed that 5 cwt. of coal was supplied to this consumer in two deliveries on 10th and 24th May, and 6 cwt. on 12th November. Unfortunately no request was made to the local fuel office for extra supplies on account of illness until information was received by the merchant from my hon. Friend. A delivery of 6 cwt. was then made on 8th December. This consumer has also been visited by the local fuel inspector and a licence has been granted for a further supply. Any other cases of hardship will be considered in the normal way if application is made to the fuel office.

102. Commander Pursey

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the number of domestic coal merchants and dealers, respectively, in Hull; the total number of domestic coal consumers registered for the full amount available and for licence deliveries, respectively; the number of new registrations made in the summer six months, 1st May to 31st October; and how often additional coal is allocated to merchants for new registrations.

Mr. Gaitskell

There are 187 licensed coal merchants in Hull of whom 109 would be described as dealers. The number of consumers, registered for coal supplies is 109,796, of whom 8,673 received additional quantities under licence during the period 1st May to 31st October, 1947. New registrations during the same period totalled 1,160. Merchants allocations are revised each six months but adjustments are made at other times if warranted by the circumstances.