§ 126. Mr. Llewellyn
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether in view of the fact that many old age pensioners have no facilities for storing coal, he will allow them to buy their coal next winter at summer prices, and so enjoy the advantage of reduced summer price.77W
§ Mr. P. Noel-Baker
As I said on 26th May in answer to a Question by the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. P. Smithers), I regret that it would not be practicable to arrange for old age pensioners to be supplied with coal at reduced prices.
§ 128. Mr. Janner
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power in view of the fact that the price of coal is to be reduced in the summer and increased in the winter, what steps he is taking to ensure that no hardship will be caused to people with small receptacles for their fuel or low incomes who cannot therefore purchase their coal in the summer months.
§ Mr. P. Noel-Baker
The reduction of coal prices in summer, and the corresponding increase in winter, are intended to encourage the summer stocking of coal, and thus to prevent a breakdown in winter distribution. Such a breakdown would all too probably occur if the recent tendency to defer the purchase of coal until the autumn and winter were to continue. The National Coal Board, the Coal Merchants' Federation and the Co-operative Union, who together prepared the scheme, have found it impracticable to differentiate in the winter price between the consumers who, for whatever reason, purchase the bulk of their supply in the winter. Arrangements will be made to ensure that consumers who cannot stock in the summer will have the benefit of priority of delivery in the winter, and they will, I hope, regard the slightly higher winter prices as an insurance premium which will give them an additional security for their supply. I add an expression of my earnest hope that everyone, including those who have little space for stocking, will buy whatever they can in summer, even if it is only a few hundredweights.