Petrol Protest in Coventry Around 1947

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BASIC PETROL RATION PROTEST - SOUND Location: Coventry Date: 21/10/1947 Length: 375 secs Crowd being...
BASIC PETROL RATION PROTEST - SOUND Location: Coventry Date: 21/10/1947 Length: 375 secs Crowd being address by Sir Miles Thomas he says "Thank you, Mr Brandish. I want to make quite clear that I'm not speaking to you this morning as President of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders or as Vice Chairman of any manufacturing organisation. I am speaking as a private god fearing, tax paying, law abiding citizen who wants to freedom to travel and go about his lawful duties as he's a perfect right to do. This demonstration in the heart of Coventry, every effort has been made to see that it does not interfer in any way with the normal business activities of your city. And that is doesn't conflict with the spirit of self discipline which we all have to dispaly at this critical time. But, Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Chairman I honestly believe that the restoration of the basic petrol ration would help the country and not hinder it. If I didn't believe that I shouldn't be standing here this morning recommending such a thing. The overwhelming majority of motr car users affected by the basic petrol ration are people of small or moderate means who run a almost entirely for domestic or utilitarian purposes. To call those people pleasure motorists is frankly absurb and nonsense. They've neither to money nor the time these days to inford in any necessary indulgence. They use the car to ease the burdens of an austerity existance which otherwise is going to be well nye intolerable. People who have got to take their children many miles to school by car, people who shop by car or be at the mercy of an erratic, infrequent or entirely inadequate bus service. Women in isolated homes, frequently old women who can get no help in the house and have to feed and look after large families. Men who fought for their country for five years and have saved up money to buy a car and now after waiting two years for it, have taken delivery and paid the government a £150 in purchase tax only to hold up their car and not be allowed to use it at all. How many ex-servicemen who faced death to save us and who came out of the forces to put their whole savings into little businesses like those now confronted with the stark prospect of bankruptcy. They risked death and now their living is signed away siple by the stroke of a pen in some government office. No gentlemen we've got to fight to get some atleast of our petrol ration resatored. We've got the fight on behalf of those people who fought for us and on behalf of those housewives and wage earners who are constantly fighting these days to scratch together the bare bones of an auster existance. Let me remind you of a few facts that support our case, The saving of the seven and a half million pounds which the government estimates will result from the abolition of the basic patrol ration would be seriously offset by the increase in supplementary rations which will have to be made and a further point if the flood of the applicants for supplementary rations are properly dealt with fairly as they ought to be, they must in evitably add to the already infalted ranks of the Civil Service and already there is too much beauarcy in this country. I respectfully suggest to you that we've enough unproductive workers in the country without adding to them. There's no doubt that the Government in this discision was concerned about the extent of the black market in petrol. I agree with them we don't want any long distance black market joy riding. I submit to you that kind of thing will become worse now more than better because the more you attempt to control and restrict the peoples freedom unreasonable to greater lengths they will go to evade those restrictions. When our airmen were being shot out of the sky, when the seamen were being torpedoed .... No basci more spivs. ... five million owners and users of motor cars and motorcycles and it recommends a fifty percent reduction of the basic petrol allowance to show the government a saving of three and thre quarter million pounds. And it also recommends cuts in all other uses of imported petrols by an average of twenty percent and saving of five and a quarter million pounds, a saving of nine million pounds in all and thats the figure required by the government. We must do everyhting in our power, gentlemen, to press for these revisions. The people of this country are entitled to a fair consideration of their case and by showing an open minded attitude in this matter the government have nothing to lose but everything to gain." Crowd applauding. Line of cars driving in protest. Horse drawn carriage in streets of Coventry. Cars driving through Coventry and motorcycles. Road scenes are in Trinity st and the A45 at Pickford Green.Corporation St and Hales St