HC Deb 11 May 1951 vol 487 cc272-3W
Mr. Shurmer

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that people in Birmingham who have changed their coal merchant have, in many instances, lost their last month's supply of coal; and what action he will take in this matter.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

I have no evidence that deliveries of coal to any individual consumer in Birmingham or elsewhere have been adversely affected by changing his coal merchant on 1st May. As I have explained on previous occasions, 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. For this reason, I regret that it is not practicable to make good in one period deficiencies which arose in a previous period. But where hardship would otherwise arise the local fuel overseer is empowered to authorise an extra supply.