HC Deb 29 January 1951 vol 483 cc63-5W
105. Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what action he is taking to see that supplies of coal and coke are maintained in North Oxfordshire in particular in the rural areas.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

I am informed that the supplies of coal to North Oxfordshire, including the rural areas, compare favourably with those to other areas in the southern region. Supplies of coke are being brought in from other areas, but, the demand throughout the country has so greatly increased that it may not be possible for merchants to meet in full the orders placed by all domestic consumers.

160. Mr. Bevins

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why, during the period of the serious epidemic of influenza in Liverpool, supplies of coal have been insufficient to meet consumers' entitlements.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Consumers in Liverpool are getting a fair share of the available supplies of house coal, but, as my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary has informed the hon. Member, some special additional help has been arranged.

108. Mr. Gooch

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will direct coal merchants to exceed the permitted quantities of coal for domestic use in rural areas where there are no alternative means of heating and cooking.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Local fuel overseers already have standing instructions to authorise coal merchants to make extra deliveries to consumers who have no alternative means of heating and cooking, and who apply for the necessary licence. This arrangement is, I believe, well known both to merchants and consumers.

119. Mr. Sutcliffe

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that almost half the population of 12,000 at Shaw are entirely without domestic coal, or have no more than one or two days' supply, and that no coke is available as a substitute for space heating; and if he will take immediate action to increase supplies.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

I am making inquiries and will write to the hon. Member as soon as I can.

120. Mr. H. A. Price

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware of the distress and discomfort which the present coal shortage is causing to tenants of municipal flats owing to their inability to store coal or to take delivery in other than small quantities; and whether he will give urgent consideration to methods of overcoming this difficulty.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

The merchants and Co-operative Societies who distribute coal have always given preference in winter deliveries to householders who, for lack of space, or for other reasons, are unable to lay in stocks of coal during the summer months. The Coal Merchants' Federation and the Co-operative Unions have promised to give priority to such householders during the present winter, and they have recently reminded all their members of this pledge.

Mr. H. Fraser

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that deliveries of domestic coal in the Stafford and Stone area are falling well below the promised five hundredweights per month per householder; whether he will state the exact shortfall of coal deliveries in this area; and what steps he proposes to take.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

As I am sure the hon. Member is aware, the quantities of coal which a householder may buy are not rations, the supply of which is guaranteed; they are limits up to which he may buy if the necessary supplies are available. The allocations of coal to merchants have never been sufficient to allow them to provide the maximum permitted quantity for every household. I am assured that merchants in the Stafford and Stone area are receiving their fair share of the available supplies.