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Written Answers

Volume 477: debated on Monday 17 July 1950

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday, 17th July, 1950

Fuel And Power

Petrol (Consumption)

2.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what has been the increase in the consumption of petrol in the first month since derationing.

5.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how much petrol sales have increased since derationing.

In the six weeks which ended on 6th July, 1950, the deliveries of motor spirit by the bulk distributors averaged 109,200 tons a week. That was 12,200 tons a week more than in the six weeks before the decision to de-ration petrol was made.

Coal (Summer Prices)

4.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he appreciates that his scheme for cheaper solid domestic fuel in the summer acts unfairly on the lower income groups; and if he will, therefore, make some other arrangement for their benefit.

No. I am confident that the introduction of lower summer prices for domestic coal was necessary in the interests of domestic consumers in the lower income groups, and of the housewives who have no stocking space. When the National Coal Board, the Coal Merchants' Federation, and the Co-operative Union put this proposal forward, their purpose was to encourage the summer stocking of coal, and thus to prevent a breakdown in winter distribution. If such a breakdown happened, it might well be the lower income groups who suffered most.To their regret, and mine, the Coal Board, the Federation and the Co-operative Union have not found it practicable to devise special winter prices for householders who, for whatever reason, purchase the bulk of their supplies in winter; but those who have no stocking space will be given priority for their deliveries in the winter months. The scheme, as I have said, is an insurance against a breakdown of the winter supply, and I am glad to say that it is being a great success.

Food Supplies

Mutton

12.

asked the Minister of Food what are the respective quantities of Scotch, English and Welsh mutton slaughtered monthly during the most recent six months for which figures are available.

Following is a table showing the numbers of Scotch, English and Welsh sheep purchased for slaughter during the first six months of this year. Figures of actual weights are not readily available. The numbers of sheep purchased for slaughter in Scotland, England and Wales respectively during the first six months of this year were as follows:-

ScotlandEnglandWales(including Monmouth)
'000 head'000 head'000 head
January35·778·311·2
February12·727·81·9
March8·929·21·1
April9·245·23·3
May11·883·96·8
June (a)32·5164·811·8
110·8429·236·1
(a) These figures are provisional.

Eggs

21.

asked the Minister of Food if he will now make a statement as to the supply position of eggs in the coming months.

Supplies are expected to diminish steadily from now until the late Autumn, but there should be not less than 35 eggs for each non-priority consumer during the period to the end of the year.

Apples

22.

asked the Minister of Food what is the fixed price of apples; and whether better supplies will be provided in Dagenham.

The present maximum retail price for home-grown apples is 8d. a lb.. but price control is being suspended on 1st August. For imported apples the maximum prices in London and the home counties are 1s. 2d. a lb., for Cox's Orange Pippins and 9½d. a lb. for other varieties. Imported apples are distributed throughout the country on a population basis, and an allocation is about to be made to the Dagenham area. There is no control over the distribution of homegrown apples.

Fruit And Vegetables (Imports)

25.

asked the Minister of Food what is the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables imported from Yugoslavia under the new licences issued on 1st July, 1950.

According to my Department's records, there have been no imports of fresh fruit and vegetables from Yugoslavia this month.

Milk Deliveries

26.

asked the Minister of Food whether he will relax, during warm weather, the restrictions in the retail sale of milk in rural districts, of which the village of Ashburnham is an example, where deliveries are limited to every other day.

Imported Dates (Advertisements)

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the taxpayers' resentment at the advertising campaign for imported dates; and why it has been undertaken.

No complaints about these advertisements have been received by my Ministry. The object is to clear stocks so that the business of importing and selling dates may be returned to private traders.

Personal Case

asked the Minister of Food when the potato and carrot division of his Department at Oxford are going to cease sending forms to Mr. George Newman of 77, Ampthill Road, Flitwick, who retired from the potato trade last year and is still receiving demands for monthly returns under Regulation 55AA of the Defence (General) Regulations, 1939, and in particular, in view of the assurances given to the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire in a letter from his Department dated 22nd June. 1950, that Mr. Newman would not be troubled again, why a further demand has been sent to him.

No further monthly return form has been sent to Mr. Newman, but I regret to say that a reminder relating to an earlier form was inadvertently sent to him.

Transport

Vehicles (Night Parking)

28.

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will revoke the Emergency Powers (Defence) Standing Vehicles Orders, 1939 and 1940, in view of the fact that the reason for their imposition no longer exists.

The Committee on Road Safety recommended in 1944 that the parking of motor vehicles on the "wrong" side at night on roads which are not built-up should continue to be prohibited and I accepted this recommendation. The continued extension of the prohibition to built-up roads is not so essential now that street lighting has been restored, and I have under consideration the question of amending the Order of 1939 in this respect.

Highway Expenditure

29.

asked the Minister of Transport what is his present policy in restricting highway expenditure.

My policy is aimed at keeping highway expenditure within the limits assigned to it in the Government's investment programme and securing that, within those limits, the best possible use is made of the available resources.

Shipping (Oil Discharge)

36.

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that complaints are again being made about the pollution of beaches by oily deposits; and whether he will again call the attention of shipmasters to their obligations in this matter under the Oil in Navigable Waters Act, 1922.

Yes. I am arranging once more to call the attention of shipmasters both to their obligations under the Oil in Navigable Waters Act, 1922, and to the voluntary agreement entered into by the shipowners of this and a number of other countries that oil shall not be discharged from ships within 50 miles of any coast.

Road Accidents

41.

asked the Minister of Transport the number or road accidents for the first month of road accidents for the first month of unrationed petrol, June, 1950, giving the comparision with the figures for May, 1950, and June, 1939.

Following are the figures of road casualties in May and June, 1950, and June, 1939:

MonthDeathsSeriously InjuredSlightly InjuredTotal
June, 19504254,55014,15019,125
May, 19504194,11412,08216,615
June, 19394934,36916,25121,113
NOTE: The figures for June, 1950, are provisional.

Users' Committee, Wales

asked the Minister of Transport how many times the Transport Users' Consultative Committee for Wales has met during the past 12 months; what recommendations they made; and what action was taken on their recommendations.

The Transport Users' Consultative Committee for Wales has met three times during the past 12 months. I am not informed of the recommendations of the Committee; in accordance with the provisions of Section 6 (8) of the Transport Act, 1947, they are sent to the Central Transport Consultative Committee for Great Britain and to the British Transport Commission.

Government Vehicles, Usa

48.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what was the number of motor vehicles maintained out of public funds at the British Embassy in Washington on 1st May, 1938, and 1st May, 1950, respectively; and the number of persons employed as drivers, mechanics, and in the administration of these vehicles on the above dates.

In May, 1938, the Ambassador's car was the only vehicle mantained from public funds, and no drivers or maintenance personnel were employed at public expense. In May, 1950, 42 vehicles were maintained and the number of drivers and other personal directly employed on transport duties was 34.

Copper (Purchase)

57.

asked the Minister of Supply when it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to reopen the London Metal Market for dealing in copper.

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary in the Debate on the Adjournment on June, 20th June, 1950, to which I have nothing May, 1950 to add. I am prepared to consider June, 1939 sympathetically any proposal which would overcome the difficulties to which my hon. Friend drew attention.

Festival Of Britain

asked the Lord President of the Council what proportion of the cost of the concert hall and the river wall, now being built in connection with the Festival of Britain, will be borne by the London County Council and by the Exchequer respectively.

The London County Council is responsible for the Royal Festival hall and the river wall, and no part of the cost will fall on the Exchequer, unless it is established that additional expenditure is incurred as a direct result of the requirements of the Festival office.

Royal Air Force (Poster Campaign)

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will devote a proportion of the poster campaign of the Royal Air Force to publicity for the Air Training Corps.

I very much wish this were possible, but the Air Ministry has less to spend on posters this year than last, because of the general need to limit expenditure on publicity, and I cannot at present afford further to reduce poster advertising for the Royal Air Force.