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Fuel And Power

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 14 April 1949

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Gas Consultative Council, Se Region

32.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power which bodies and associations were invited to nominate candidates for appointment to the Gas Consultative Council South Eastern Region; and if he will give the names of the bodies or associations whose candidates have been appointed to the committee.

As regards the first part of the Question, since the list is a long one I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The South Eastern Gas Consultative Council has not yet been appointed, and the second part of the Question, does not, therefore, arise.

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's action in providing that vesting day shall be 1st May, can he give an assurance that this Council will be appointed before vesting day?

No, Sir. Under the Act a period of six months is allowed after vesting day before the Council has to be appointed.

Does that mean that the right hon. Gentleman is satisfied to leave consumers without any protection whatsoever for that period?

No, Sir. I expect the Council will be appointed well in advance of the six months' date.

Is not this all part of the Socialist Party's policy for a better deal for the consumer?

Following is the list:

The following bodies have been asked to nominate candidates for appointment to the South Eastern Gas Consultative Council under the Gas Act, 1948:

  • The Association of Municipal Corporations.
  • The Urban District Councils' Association.
  • The Rural District Councils' Association.
  • The County Councils' Association.
  • The Joint Standing Committee of Metropolitan Boroughs.
  • The London County Council.
  • The Association of British Chambers of Commerce.
  • The Federation of British Industries.
  • The National Union of Manufacturers.
  • The Parliamentary Committee of Cooperative Congress.
  • The Trades Union Congress.
  • The National Council of Women.
  • The Standing Joint Committee of Working Women's Organisations.
  • The National Federation of Women's Institutes.
  • The Women's Gas Council.
  • The Women's Voluntary Services.

Petrol Imports

33.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what percentage of our petrol imports during 1948 came from the dollar area; and what was the cost in sterling.

In 1948, United Kingdom imports of motor spirit (including aviation spirit) from dollar sources amounted to 43 per cent. by value of the total from all sources. The cost, in terms of sterling, was approximately £16 million f.o.b.

In view of the fact that £18 million was spent on dollars for tobacco, which is a luxury, surely it is most unfair that the motorist in this country, whether he motors for pleasure or for industrial purposes, should be treated so improperly?

Staff

35.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many additional staff his Department has taken on since 1st March, 1949.

No additional staff have been recruited since 1st March, 1949. There was a small net decrease between 1st March and 9th April.

36.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many persons are required to take over the checking of stocks of petrol and coupons at garages, which task was previously performed by the petrol supply companies.

The number of persons required to take over the checking of petrol coupons returned from garages, etc., cannot be precisely determined until some experience of the work involved has been gained, but it is estimated that only 11 additional staff will be required.

Will these additional staff come from the existing staff in the Ministry and, if so, from what jobs?

I could not say without notice. There will not be 11 people exclusively engaged on this work, which will be combined with other work.