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Domestic Consumption

Volume 526: debated on Monday 5 April 1954

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23.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the aggregate annual cost of domestic solid fuel allocation schemes, including all overheads and the number of officials employed including fuel overseers; the consumption of domestic coal and coke, respectively, for 12 months ended 31st March, 1954, compared with the last corresponding pre-war year; and what estimate he has formed of additional domestic coal and coke required to end all restrictions.

About £1½ million; 140 Ministry officials and 1,921 full-time staff in the offices of local fuel overseers. In the year ended 31st March last, the consumption of domestic coal and coke (excluding miners' households) was 32·6 and 3·1 million tons, respectively, but comparable pre-war figures are not available. The additional fuel required to end restrictions cannot be accurately estimated, but may be about 3 to 4 million tons.

In consideration of the fact that in the summer of this year the allocation of domestic solid fuel will be the only major rationing scheme remaining, can my right hon. Friend say what progress he is making towards eliminating fuel allocations?

I would be extremely eager to end the scheme, but the increase in the consumption of coal by industry is at present—in one way, I am glad to say, but not glad from the coal point of view—at exactly the same rate as the increase in production from the mines.