§ 20. Mr. Tom Brown
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will make a statement of the results of the summer prices scheme for house coal.
§ Mr. P. Noel-Baker
The purpose of the summer prices scheme was to encourage domestic users to stock more coal during the summer months, and thus to lighten the burden of distribution during the winter, when the weather is hard. Since the scheme came into force on 25th May, the merchants and the cooperative societies have sold about one million tons more coal than they did a year ago. Their spokesmen assure me that, in spite of the weather, a substantial proportion of this coal is still in housholders' cellars and they think that their chances of avoiding a breakdown in winter distribution have been much improved.
It was a condition of the scheme that merchants should give priority in winter to householders who were unable to buy for stock in summer, because they had no space. I hope that householders who have bought in summer will help themselves and others by conserving their coal as carefully as they can.