§ 58. Mr. HOUSTON
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the price of coal at South Wales ports for export and bunkers ranges from 52s. 6d. to 60s. per ton, according to destination and flag; that the price of coal for export and bunkers at United States coal ports is about 25s. per ton; and can he state what steps are being taken to maintain our export trade in view of this difference in price?
§ Sir A. GEDDES
I have been asked to answer this question. The coal prices at South Wales ports are, in all cases, open market prices, being above the scheduled minimum. I am informed that the prices quoted in the question are somewhat higher than the general level of prices now prevailing in South Wales. With regard to the price of American coal, I understand that the lowest price for delivery at European ports is over 120s. per ton, but I have no official information on this point. At present there is no indication of our failing to find a ready market for all the coal which we are in a position to export.
§ Mr. HOUSTON
Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that I refer to the export trade in the question, and more particularly to the South American trade, 1815 and does not he also realise that the loss of our export trade means financial disaster?
§ Mr. G. BALFOUR
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that British buyers are purchasing American coal?
§ Sir A. GEDDES
Necessarily new supplies of coal must be found. If the coal output in this country is so low that we cannot supply the demands that continue to be made on us we must have resort to the world's supply of coal?
An HON. MEMBER
How long are we to continue to supply France and Italy, and is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the very fact of these increasing supplies is keeping us out of other markets?