HC Deb 24 April 1950 vol 474 cc54-5W
77. Sir H. Williams

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the basis on which coal is allocated to domestic users.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

The Government decide the amount of coal available for household use. In so doing, they consider the probable total output of coal for the year; the essential needs of other home consumers, for example, industry, the railways, and gas works; and the amount which we must export to markets overseas. The quantity allowed for household use is then divided among the various regions in proportion to the numbers and needs of the consumers. It is distributed to individual merchants on a similar basis by a trade organisation—the House Coal Distribution (Emergency) Scheme, which works in co-operation with my Department. The merchants are responsible for equitable distribution to individual consumers, within the limits laid down by directions made under the Coal Distribution Order, 1943. This part of the control is supervised by the local fuel overseers.

86. Mr. Profumo

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is in a position to make a statement regarding new restrictions governing the maximum quantity of coal to which domestic consumers will be entitled during the coming year.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

In accordance with the Coal Distribution Order, 1943, I have issued a direction about the supplies of coal to domestic consumers in the year beginning 1st May. The direction was laid before the House on 22nd April, and I hope it will be in the Vote Office today. The maximum quantities for the year will be the same as in 1949–50, but in the Southern Regions householders will be able to buy 24 cwt. during the summer instead of 20 cwt., as they could a year ago.

88. Mr. A. Edward Davies

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that the domestic coal ration supplied to consumers is still falling much below the permitted maximum; and whether better supplies can now be made available.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

As I informed the House on 20th and 29th March, the question of the supply of coal for household consumption is under urgent consideration. I have at present nothing to add to what I said then.