HC Deb 21 July 1919 vol 118 cc873-4

asked the President of the Board of Trade to state what steps the Government propose to take to maintain our export trade in coal in view of the great disparity in price at which coal is being sold f.o.b. at American coal ports and British coal ports, and the great disparity between the amount of coal got by American miners per head per annum and the amount got by British miners per head per annum; and what these amounts are, respectively?


As regards the first part of the question, I can only refer the hon. Member to the statement which I made in the House on Monday. With regard to the second part of the question, a complete comparison is only available for the year 1916, in which the output of coal in the United Kingdom was 265 tons per person employed per year, while in the United States the output of bituminous coal was 800 tons per person employed per year. The figures are given in each case in tons of 2,240 lbs.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that the freights by American vessels to South America are about double what they are by British ships, and that when American freights come to a parity with ours the whole of our export trade will disappear?


I am afraid there will be great difficulty in maintaining our export trade unless we can get the output of coal up.

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