§ 5. Sir W. Smithers
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how much of the proposed coal imports will be destined for the domestic market to alleviate the house-coal shortage.
§ Sir W. Smithers
To save a long supplementary, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he and, indeed, everybody would read the leading article on page 6 of yesterday's "Sunday Times"? It would do them all good.
§ 7. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will now make a statement upon house-coal supply prospects for next winter, in view of increased coal imports.
§ 14. Viscount Lambton
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what further steps he is taking to expedite summer stocking of coal, in view of the threatened shortage of house coal in the coming winter.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd
Consumers generally should buy and stock as much coal as they can during the rest of the summer. So far, I am glad to say that distributed stocks are somewhat higher than last year. But the purpose of my answers last week was to emphasise the danger that will arise in the winter if consumption continues to rise as at present and production remains broadly static. The Government and the coal industry as a whole fully appreciate the gravity of this prospect.
As I announced last week, the Government have already decided to import more coal, but the fundamental need is for greater production, and this has been stressed by the N.C.B. and in the recent report of the Executive of the National Union of Mineworkers.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Can my right hon. Friend give an asurance that the Coal Board, in the course of the next nine months, will deliver to merchants all over the country a total quantity of coal which will enable the merchants to honour their obligations in supplying the maximum allocation to householders, namely, 34 cwt. in the South of England and 50 cwt. in the North of England?
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that domestic consumers are stocking up in the summer as they should?
§ Mr. P. Williams
Is my right hon. Friend aware of the difficulty of certain people in stocking up in the summer? Will he do what he can to see that people who cannot stock up in the summer can get their coal in the winter?
§ Mr. Blyton
Is the Minister aware that in view of the difficulties which we are likely to face this coming winter, the N.U.M. are doing all they can to get the men to work on Saturdays during the summer months to meet the situation?
§ Mr. Lloyd
Yes, and I think that this House and the country appreciate the firm and frank leadership of the leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers. It is a fact that, no doubt following the lead that has been given, some districts and some coalfields have decided to work every Saturday this year.
§ Viscount Lambton
Could the Minister give an estimate of the amount of coal which he expects to import this summer?
§ 15. Mr. Dudley Williams
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware of the concern that is felt in Exeter, and other parts of the West Country, at the possibility of a breakdown in the supplies of coal next winter; and if he will ensure that adequate reserves in the area are built up to prevent this.
§ 19. Mr. R. Harris
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will give an assurance that there will be adequate stocks of fuel available in Heston and Isleworth this coming winter.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd
The National Coal Board assures me that steps will be taken, in co-operation with the organisations representing the merchants, to ensure that all districts receive their fair share of the total supplies available next winter.