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Standard Ration

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 17 February 1949

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will consider restoring the full basic ration to all motorists, irrespective of whether they receive a supplementary allowance or not. by the Easter holidays.

I am afraid that, for reasons which I gave when I announced that the system of deducting the standard ration from supplementary allowances would be brought to an end, it would be administratively impracticable to stop the system of deductions before the end of April without introducing gross unfairness.

Is the Minister aware that the people of this country are conscious of the great saving which has been made since the introduction of red petrol, and that they expect at this time a concession from the Minister in order that they may take their Easter holidays? This would be a great benefit indeed to the seaside resorts.

I am afraid it is quite out of the question to make the change for which the hon. Gentleman asks. It would be unfair to all those people who have already had their ration deducted.

In view of the fact that the means of livelihood of a great many people depend on the holiday motorists, will the Minister consider giving a special ration just for the Easter holiday period?

Would it be possible, without increasing the amount of petrol, to allow supplementary coupons to be cashed in the middle of April instead of at the beginning of May, so that without giving more petrol in total, the fuel allowance might be used for the Easter holidays?

I doubt if that would be practicable, but I am prepared to look into the suggestion.

Is the Minister aware that the principle of deducting the basic ration against supplementary coupons was considered unfair by everybody in this country as well as in all quarters of this House? If he would make this concession for the Easter holidays, it would be appreciated by a very large number of people.

I would not agree that it was considered unfair by everybody, in view of the amount of petrol available. In any case, it will be brought to an end by 1st May.

If the Minister, as he told me a short time ago, has saved 150,000 tons of white petrol in five months owing to the introduction of red petrol, how on earth can he refuse this very miserable concession?

I have already explained that part of the saving which we made from introducing red petrol went to the needs of stocks for defence purposes, but from 1st May all savings will be absorbed by the standard ration.