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Coal Merchants (Surcharge)

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 17 May 1949

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59.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware of the concern felt by coal merchants that they are to be surcharged 6d. to 1s. per ton of fuel invoiced to them; and whether he will arrange for this surcharge not to be made.

No, Sir. No representations have been made to my right hon. Friend by the trade. Merchants are not being surcharged, but where they buy direct from the N.C.B. and require from them a wholesale distributor's service, the Board make an appropriate addition to the basic pithead price.

Is this a new charge? Is it not a fact that this charge was imposed without any consultation with the coal merchants and, when they asked why it was to be charged, they were not given a satisfactory reply?

No, Sir. From 2nd May distributors were able to buy direct from the Coal Board. The basic transaction of the Coal Board extends only to delivering coal into the railway wagons, weighing, labelling and advising the consumers. If they want a service on top of that, there must be an additional charge.