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Coal Merchants (Logs, Price)

Volume 480: debated on Monday 6 November 1950

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36.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will study the circumstances under which coal merchants were able to obtain logs from suppliers at 55s. per ton at the end of September, are now having to pay 75s. and expect a further increase to 100s. at the end of November; and what action he proposes to take to end or reduce the profiteering in this trade.

I have not been able to trace any case where merchants have been asked to pay more than 55s. per ton for firewood, but if my hon. Friend will give me the names of the merchants to whom he refers I will cause further inquiries to be made.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this question was put down on the day following a conference which I had with no fewer than 14 people actively engaged in the coal industry, and that 10 of them have had precisely the experience of being asked 75s. for log deliveries at the beginning of this month?

If I could be told who made the offer to these merchants, I will try to follow it up to see if something can be done.