HC Deb 21 December 1973 vol 866 cc485-7W
Mr. Money

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will introduce legislation to increase the penalties for profiteering on and hoarding diesel fuel during the fuel emergency.

Mr. Tom Boardman

The penalties for exceeding the statutory maximum retail prices for diesel fuel were prescribed earlier this month in the Fuel and Electricity (Control) Act 1973. The statement issued by my right hon. Friend on 7th December—[Vol. 865, c. 1649–1659.]—should reassure those companies which receive bulk deliveries of diesel fuel as to the use and replenishment of their supplies.

Dame Irene Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether, in the event of petrol rationing, he will ensure that disabled persons who cannot go to work unless they are driven by car, such as the industrial research engineer of whom details have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Tynemouth, have adequate petrol.

Mr. Tom Boardman

If petrol rationing had to be introduced people in these circumstances would be able to apply for a supplementary allowance and such applications would receive sympathetic consideration.

Mr. Alfred Morris

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action he is taking to ensure that residential boat owners are able to obtain necessary supplies of petrol, paraffin, diesel and calor gas; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Tom Boardman

Action has been taken by my Department in conjunction with the oil industry to provide for the availability of supplies of such fuels in reasonable quantities to meet the essential needs of all oil users, including residential boat owners.

Mr. Judd

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT details of the steps being taken by his Department to ensure that during the current fuel crisis adequate petrol supplies are available to volunteers working with the sick, the infirm the handicapped, the elderly and the disadvantaged; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Tom Boardman

The response from the public generally to the Government's request for voluntary restraint in the use of petrol has been such that supplies should continue for the present to be available in reasonable quantities for all motorists. Petrol stations have, however, been asked to cater fully for the requirements of vital categories, including social or welfare workers and voluntary services, and as far as possible to make special arrangements for them at garages.

Miss Fookes

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the implementation of the arrangements he is making to ensure that the oil companies distribute supplies of diesel and other fuels fairly to all their usual customers.

Mr. Tom Boardman

Detailed instructions have been issued to the oil companies and distributors regarding deliveries of the main oil products to their customers. Where supply or distribution difficulties lead to a shortfall in deliveries to oil users, there is a well-established appeals procedure which is administered through my Department's regional organisation. This is operating effectively.