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Domestic Allocation

Volume 440: debated on Thursday 17 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will now undertake to increase the six summer months' coal allocation of one ton, five cwts. to households with neither gas nor electricity.

Gaitskell: I am sorry that no increase in the domestic coal allowances is at present possible.

Would the Minister give further consideration to this matter, which is one of great importance, especially to farmers and people in isolated country districts, who have no gas or electricity, and have not the same benefits as people in towns?

We would be only too glad to increase those allowances if the coal were available. As regards people with no gas or electricity, they can get additional supplies if they have to cook by coal.

In this situation, is it really intended to pursue the five-day week?

Is my hon. Friend aware that it is particularly unfair to poor urban residents who have neither gas nor electricity?

I think the present arrangements deal fairly with the different classes of consumer.

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is great dissatisfaction when those without gas or electricity see the full ration being delivered to those who have gas and electricity? Would he give instructions to his regional officers at least to give preference in regard to the rationed amount to those who have not gas or electricity?

All we can do is to fix the maximum amount. We have to leave the trade discretion in deciding how they share out supplies among their customers and they take into account the kind of points which my hon. Friend has raised.

It the Minister cannot increase the allowance of coal to those in rural areas, where they have neither gas nor electricity, will he at least remove from rural areas posters asking people to economise in the use of gas and electricity?

In cases where persons have neither gas nor electricity, how can they cook otherwise than by coal?

Various hon. Members have given the answer—they can cook by oil.