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Stocks, Eastern Region

Volume 486: debated on Monday 9 April 1951

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that merchants' reserve stocks of house coal in Norfolk and the other six counties of the Eastern Region now total only five days' supply; and what steps are being taken by his Department to bring the stocks up to a more adequate level.

Stocks of house coal always fall to a fairly low level at this time of year. The stocks in the Eastern Region have been rather lower than I could have wished, and there has, of course, been some reduction during the Easter weeks; but the current deliveries to merchants are being well maintained. Everything practicable will be done to build up satisfactory stocks during the summer months.

Is the Minister aware that the allocation to the Eastern counties is rather lower than it ought to be because his Ministry still work on certain tables which seem to show that the climate in that area is the same as in Torquay or Bournemouth? It is for that reason that the level of the stocks is of particular importance.

I will consider that, but I should like to point out that since 1st May the merchants have sold to their customers 74,000 tons more house coal than the year before.

I understood the Minister to say "current deliveries were being maintained." Would he explain what that means?

Did I understand my right hon. Friend to say that he has already made arrangements to increase the supplies available for domestic issue during the forthcoming summer and winter?

Has the Minister been able to take steps to overcome the acute shortage of coal in Cornwall?