asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is now in a position to make a further statement as to the rationing of coal and, in particular, whether it is proposed to encourage those in a position to do so to store coal during the summer months so as to ease the problem of distribution next winter?
The Secretary for Mines (Mr. David Grenfell)
It is too early as yet to say whether the efforts now being made to increase coal production and to economise in the consumption of all kinds of fuel will enable us to avoid the reintroduction of rationing. In the meantime, it is of the highest importance to make full use of our transport facilities to distribute supplies for next winter and I would urge all domestic consumers who can do so to lay in stocks in so far as supplies are available in their area. I have arranged with the trade that their supplies shall be distributed fairly.
Does the Minister realise that that means that some who can afford it will be able to lay in stocks of coal and those who cannot afford it will have to rely on what is available to them?
It is intended that no one shall lay in any undue stocks of coal.
Is the Minister aware that, particularly in the West of Scotland, where there are tenement dwellings, the storage of coal is absolutely impossible? Will he consider storing coal on a community basis?
I will take note of the hon. Gentleman's suggestion. The House must not assume that while we invite individuals to lay in some coal for their own purposes, we are not also providing stocks from which every one may be served in turn.