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Written Answers

Volume 411: debated on Friday 8 June 1945

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Written Answers To Questions

Household Coal Prices, Glamorganshire

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that opencast mined coal is retailed to householders in Llanharan, Glamorganshire, at a price per cwt. greater than that charged for ordinary mined coal; and whether the same districts are to suffer a continued allocation of this inferior coal.

Opencast coal is not included in the house coal allocation to Llanharan, and inquiry has failed to reveal that any opencast coal has been delivered to householders in this area. If my hon. Friend will let me have any information in his possession I will look further into the matter.

Purchase Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he contemplates recommending any relief generally in respect of Purchase Tax, and particularly the abolition of, or reduction in, Purchase Tax on used goods, and more particularly ex-Service motor-cycles.

L:I cannot give any indication as to possible future reliefs from taxation at the present stage.


Unmillable Wheat

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in order to remove the glut of unmillable wheat which exists in certain parts of the country due to the bad harvest conditions in 1944 and in order to clear all stocks and empty all sacks and warehouses before the coming harvest, he will consider increasing the unit value of feeding stuffs coupons from 1 cwt. to 1½ or 2 cwt. per unit.

No, Sir. All available supplies of unmillable wheat are needed to meet the additional demands on the national pool of feeding stuffs which will result from the recently announced increase in rations for pig and poultry keepers. Arrangements have been made for dealing with the temporary surplus of non-millable wheat.

German Labour (Transport)

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in order to make the fullest use of German prisoner-of-war labour during the harvest period, he will do everything possible to make available considerably more motor transport.

I am in consultation with my right hon. and Noble Friend the Minis- ter of War Transport regarding the supply of additional motor transport to enable the fullest use to be made of Geman prisoner-of-war labour during the harvest period this year.

Government Contracts (London Area)

asked the Minister of Production whether there has been any further development in his policy as regards the placing of Government contracts in the London area; and whether he will fully explain the present position.

The policy to which my hon. Friend refers has been reviewed in the light of changes resulting from the end of the war in Europe and prospective changes in the labour position in London, and it has been decided to dispense with the restrictions on the renewal or replacement of Government contracts in London. There is still a serious shortage of labour in London, however, and we shall have to continue to exercise close scrutiny of all proposals which involve demands for additional labour. At the same time, with the end of the war in Europe, the direct demands of Government Departments are decreasing, and it should not be assumed that further Government work will be available in any given case when current contracts come to an end.

Road Improvements, North-East Cheshire

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport, what plans exist for improving roads by building by-passes, new bridges and extending arterial roads and by carrying out other necessary improvements in the North-East Cheshire districts.

Plans are being prepared for the completion of the North-wich By-Pass, the extension of Kingsway, Manchester, to Cheadle, the reconstruction of High Lane Station Railway Bridge, Torkington, and for other schemes. If my hon. and gallant Friend has any particular scheme in mind I shall be glad to send him details.

Ferry Service, Walberswick, Suffolk

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport, what steps he is taking to reopen the ferry service at Walberswick, Suffolk.

My Noble Friend has no jurisdiction in this matter. The ferry at Walberswick is privately owned, but I understand that the Suffolk County Council are negotiating with the owner to acquire the ferry rights. If these negotiations are satisfactorily concluded I assume that the county council will sec that an adequate service is maintained.