HC Deb 20 December 1956 vol 562 cc213-4W
59. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will arrange for an investigation to be held to ascertain why, on the eve of the introduction of the petrol rationing scheme, many businesses and local authorities had not been informed about their petrol allocation, with a view to ensuring that there will be no repetition of the difficulties thus created.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

No. Applications by businesses and local authorities for allowances of petrol for industrial plant and for certain vehicles for which no basic ration was available were given priority by my regional petroleum officers and were dealt with by 17th December. Applications for supplementary allowances for vehicles for which a basic ration was issued are being dealt with as expeditiously as possible but in the meantime the full four months basic ration is available in case of need.

Mr. Allaun

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many firms have completed and returned his questionnaire on the use of diesel oil in their undertakings; what is the general nature of the replies; what his intentions are for the period after 1st January when supplies are cut by 20 per cent.; and if he will make a statement, or when he is likely to be in a position to make one.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

Distribution of the questionnaire is still in progress and the number of forms returned so far is insufficient for any general conclusions to be drawn.

In view of the inescapable need to reduce substantially the consumption of diesel oil, it will not be possible to give special relaxation from the 20 per cent. cut at all freely. In general, it will be given only where the effect of the cut on output would be wholly disproportionate.

Mr. Vane

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware of the difficulties created for profesional men, such as architects, surveyors, and accountants, working in rural areas by the shortage of petrol; and whether he will review the appropriate scale of supplementary allowances in order to ensure that their clients shall not be entirely deprived of their services, which are essential to so many productive industries.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Sir A. Bossom), on Monday, 17th December.