§ 67. Mr. Wills
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what is the average margin per ton allowed to coal merchants to meet all expenses after the arrival of the coal at a siding; and how far this enables them effectively to perform the normal functions of their trade, and also to supply labour to pick out and remove large stones and slate from individual consignments.
§ Mr. P. Noel-Baker
The gross margins allowed to coal merchants cover the costs of distribution to consumers, and leave the merchants with a small net profit. Costs in different places vary widely, and therefore the gross margins vary too; the average for the country is about 18s. a ton. I am satisfied that, in general, the margins enable the merchants to perform the normal functions of their trade. The merchants have undertaken to go on taking every practicable step to pick out large stones and slate from the coal which they receive. I am discussing with them whether anything can be done to make their efforts more effective.