HC Deb 03 August 1900 vol 87 cc640-1

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he can state to what countries the increased export of British coal has mainly gone, and, in particular, what governments or countries have increased their purchases of coal suitable for naval use; and if such export has increased the cost of coal for the Royal Navy or reduced its supply.


The increase in the exports of coal, coke, and fuel from the United Kingdom during the first six months of this year over the exports in the first six months of 1899 was 1,073,000 tons. The increase, however, was not general among the various countries to which the coal, etc., was sent, there having been decreases in the exports to some countries amounting in the aggregate to 970,000 tons, and increases to others to the extent of 2,043,000 tons. The principal increases were to Germany, 405,000 tons; Holland, 451,000 tons; and France, 810,000 tons. I am informed that the total exports of coal from Wales in the six months January to June, 1900, show a decrease of more than 400,000 tons compared with the same period of 1899. The increase in the cost of fuel for the Royal Navy, therefore, cannot be attributed to increased export of the kind required.


I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if it is practicable to determine at the time of the shipment the purposes for which coal exported abroad is to lie used; and if he can state approximately the proportion of coal exported foreign which is sent to British possessions, to British subjects resident abroad, and to coal depots in foreign countries for the supply of British-owned steamers. I beg also to ask the President of the Board of Trade if ho can state the decreases in the exports foreign of coal from Cardiff and Newport in June and for the first six months of this year respectively, as compared with the corresponding periods of 1899. I beg also to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that no steam navigation or other coal was shipped from Cardiff to Calais during the first six months of this year, and that no coal of any kind was cleared from any South Wales port to Calais during that period with the exception of one cargo of 740 tons from Newport in June last; and if he will cause inquiries to be made as to shipments of this kind.


I am unable to say for what purposes coal exported to foreign countries is to be used, nor what proportion is to be utilised by British subjects. I will obtain and communicate to the hon. Gentleman information as to the amount of coal exported to British possessions, and as to the decrease in exports from Cardiff and Newport in the first six months of this year as compared with those of the corresponding period of 1899. The Customs records do not enable mo to say what quantities of coal are exported to particular foreign ports.