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Stocks

Volume 645: debated on Monday 24 July 1961

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7 and 8.

asked the Minister of Power (1) what are the present stocks of coal and manufactured fuels suitable for domestic use; and whether he is satisfied that the supply of such coal and fuel is sufficient to ensure that there will be no shortage in the coming winter, both in smokeless zones and elsewhere;

(2) what are the present stocks of boiler fuel in England; and whether he is satisfied that the supply of such fuel is sufficient to ensure that there will be no shortage in the coming winter.

On 8th July, merchants' and producers' stocks were 1ยท8 million tons house coal, and over 8 million tons coke, anthracite and boiler fuel, and 200,000 tons other manufactured fuels. Notwithstanding these stocks, there is always the possibility of local delays or shortages through winter delivery difficulties, and I advise consumers who can do so to stock now.

Does my hon. Friend expect that those stocks will be sufficient to tide us over a winter, which, for all we know, may be a very cold one?

Stocks at the moment stand comparison with stocks at this time last year. What will happen between now and winter is problematical. I have said that those who can afford to buy stocks should do so now.

9.

asked the Minister of Power whether he is satisfied with the steps being taken to encourage the public to stock solid fuel this summer so as to avoid delivery delays next winter; and if he will make a statement.

Both the National Coal Board and other producers of domestic fuels have announced special price reductions for the summer period in order to encourage stocking. It is most important that merchants and consumers should take full advantage of these reductions and stock as much fuel as they can. Good stocks in merchants' yards and consumers' cellars are the best safeguard against delivery delays next winter.

Will my right hon. Friend consider in publicity such a matter as "gimmick" advertising which has been so successful in the gas industry and which might help to put the thing across, quite apart from any summer price incentives?

I shall not do any advertising myself, but I shall bring my hon. Friend's ideas to the attention of the Coal Board.