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Petrol Rationing

Volume 443: debated on Thursday 30 October 1947

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84.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will consider enabling some form of basic petrol allowance to be retained, with special reference to the exceptional hardship involved to the small garages whose livelihood is largely dependent on the maintenance of the basic petrol allowance.

87.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware of the concern widely felt at the complete abolition of the basic petrol ration and, as this is likely to impede the nation's economic recovery more than the small saving of dollar expenditure can benefit it, if he will continue a basic ration, even if the amount has to be reduced.

99.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power to what extent it is possible to buy petrol from non-dollar areas; and whether this will enable him to return the basic petrol allowance in whole or in part.

105 and 114.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power (1) what steps he is taking to obtain petrol from other than dollar sources;(2) If he will reconsider restoring part of the basic petrol ration as its abolition has deprived many people of some relaxation at a time when they are being asked to make a greater effort in the production drive with a consequent lowering of morale.

107.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether in view of the widespread hardship and inconvenience caused by the abolition of the basic petrol ration, he will modify this decision.

118.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will consider a partial restoration of the basic petrol ration, in order to assist those people, to whom it is their only form of relaxation.

I would refer hon. Members to the statement I made on this subject in the House last night.

85 and 86.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power (1) whether a motorist whose car is taxed and insured will be entitled to use it on borrowed petrol or coupons, to meet a sudden emergency such as serious illness, and if so used to apply for supplementary coupons to repay the loan;(2) whether he will permit car owners not granted E or S coupons, but who keep their cars licensed and insured, to obtain by issue of an appropriate number of supplementary coupons enough petrol to keep in the tanks of their car against sudden emergencies such as serious illness requiring the car's immediate use within 25 miles.

I am afraid that it would be impossible to enforce petrol rationing effectively if the exchange or transfer of coupons or petrol were permitted. For the same reason I cannot agree to issue coupons to every car owner for use in a possible emergency.

96.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what special facilities for obtaining petrol coupons he proposes to allow to people who live in remote country districts.

98.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what directives he has issued to his local petroleum officers in connection with the issue of supplementary petrol coupons, especially in the rural areas.

122.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware of the hardship which will be caused in rural areas by the abolition of the basic petrol ration; and what study was made of the conditions in country districts before the recent decision was arrived at.

Special consideration is given to applications for petrol coupons by people living in country districts, to enable them to undertake essential domestic journeys, where public transport facilities are not available, or are such that the applicant cannot reasonably avail himself of them. Essential domestic journeys are regarded as including shopping at the nearest centre (two journeys a week), taking children to school, attending divine service, attendance at hospitals, visits to doctors and dentists, and necessary journeys to railway stations.

97.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he proposes to allocate a petrol ration to ex-Service men who, owing to the present conditions of the country and housing difficulties, are obliged to work in districts at considerable distances from the houses in which their wife and children are living and who have used a motor bicycle to return to their families at week-ends.

Where owing to housing difficulties an ex-Service man or, indeed, anybody is obliged to work in a district at a considerable distance from the house in which his wife and children are living, Regional Petroleum Officers will consider sympathetically the granting of a reasonable number of supplementary coupons to assist him to return home at week-ends by his car or motor cycle where alternative means of transport are not reasonably practicable.

103.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power under what circumstances foreign motorists purchasing British motor cars with foreign currency will be allocated petrol coupons to enable them to use their motor cars during their stay in this country.

Foreign motorists purchasing British motor cars in this country for subsequent export at the end of their stay will continue to receive an allocation of petrol coupons.

106.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the numbers employed by his Department in connection with the rationing of petrol on 1st August, 1947, and on the latest date for which figures are available.

The number of staff employed on petrol rationing on 1st August, 1947, was 1,516, and on 1st October, 1947, was 1,518.

110.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware of the delay in issuing supplementary petrol coupons following the abolition of the basic petrol ration, what increase in the original Petroleum Office staffs has been necessary; and what steps he is proposing to take to accelerate the issue of these coupons in view of the damage to the economic life of the country which is caused by delay in their issue.

The large number of new applications for supplementary petrol rations led to a considerable increase in the work of the Regional Petroleum Offices. 251 additional staff, including a certain number loaned by other Government Departments and other branches of the Ministry have been temporarily attached to these offices to deal with the flood of work and the staff concerned are doing everything in their power by overtime and Sunday work to clear off the arrears.

119.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what arrangements he is making for the issue of petrol coupons where transport facilities are inadequate, and where the basic ration has been used for purposes other than pleasure.

Regional Petroleum Officers are authorised to issue petrol coupons to owners of private cars and motor cycles for business or professional purposes, and for essential domestic purposes where transport facilities are inadequate.

123.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the various classes of the community who will still be permitted to draw petrol rations; and for what purposes such permission will be granted.

Petrol rations are granted to all owners of private cars and motor cycles who show that they need these vehicles for the purpose of their business or profession, or for essential domestic purposes. Disabled persons who are wholly dependent on a car or invalid carriage for getting about, are eligible for a small additional grant for recreational purposes. Allowances are also granted for agricultural and commercial vehicles tractors and plant; for motor boats used for commercial purposes; for vehicles operating under trade plates; for hire cars, taxi cabs, and vehicles used by schools of motoring; private aircraft used for business journeys; for charter aircraft and aircraft owned by flying clubs; and for vehicles and machines used by gliding clubs for launching and retrieving. Petrol is also allowed for miscellaneous commercial purposes such as testing vehicles and machines in factories or workshops.

125.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power when he will reply to requests for information regarding the economies to be effected by the abolition of the basic petrol ration addressed to him on behalf of their constituents by the hon. Members for North-West Camberwell (Mrs. Corbet), Heston and Isleworth (Mr. W. R. Williams), and Brentford and Chiswick (Mr. F. Noel-Baker); and whether he will now have copies of a detailed statement on this subject circulated to those hon. Members who require them,

Replies have now been sent to the hon. Members. On the second part of the Question, I would refer hon. Members to the statement that I made in the House last night.

128.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what action he has taken or is taking to reduce or eliminate the issue of petrol coupons for use in municipal elections; and what is the approximate amount issued for use in the borough elections this year.

His Majesty's Government take the view that petrol allowances must be granted for use in connection with municipal elections. The maximum amounts are agreed with the central offices of the principal political parties. It is not possible to state the amounts actually issued until after the elections