HC Deb 22 October 1919 vol 120 cc30-1

asked the President of the Board of Trade the present weekly output of coal as compared with the output before the increase of 6s. per ton was announced?


The increase of 6s. per ton in the price of coal was announced on the 9th July, 1919. The total output of coal from the 1st January, 1919, to that Elate was 128,169,000 tons, representing a rate of output of 4,577,000 tons per week, or 238,004,000 tons per year. The total output from the 9th July to 11th October (the latest date for which figures are available) was 45,579,000 tons, representing a rate of 3,820,000 tons per week, or 198,640,000 tons per year. During the later period a number of factors have affected the output of the mines, such as strikes, stoppages, and holidays, apart from the institution of the shorter working day. The figure which was taken as the estimated rate of output after 16th July, 1919, and on which the 6s. increase was based, was 217,000,000 tons per year.


May I ask whether the figures which the right hon. Gentleman has quoted point to the necessity of a further advance in the price of coal?


If we were to regard the period which has passed as normal, a further increase in the price of coal would be necessary. The actual output on what we may regard as fairly normal weeks is, however, improving, due to a variety of causes, such as improved transport, improved clearances from the mines, increased numbers of men at work in the mines, and, I hope and believe, in increased effort on the part of the men in the mines. It is improving, and so we hope still it will not be necessary further to increase the price of coal.


Are there collieries in the North standing still owing to lack of transport?


There are collieries which throughout the whole period have had difficulty in getting clearances; that is one of the causes of the reduced output—as I stated in the House at the time the increase was put on the price of coal.