HC Deb 23 February 1920 vol 125 cc1274-5
11. Major BARNES

asked the President of the Board of Trade if it is expected that in the year ending 31st March, 1920, after the provisions of the Coal Mines (Emergency) Bill, 1920, have been satisfied, any surplus profits will remain available for public purposes; and, if so, what is the amount so expected?


As stated in the course of the debate on the Second Reading of the Coal Mines (Emergency) Bill, the probable surplus for this financial year is estimated to be about £1,000,000 after the provisions of the Bill have been satisfied. This estimate is based on figures prepared by the independent accountant published in Command Paper No. 555, but it is at present impossible to say that these may not be move or less. This will depend upon our success or failure to increase inland distribution.

8. Major BARNES

asked the President of the Board of Trade what amount, if any, is estimated to be the loss to the Exchequer if the Coal (Emergency) Bill is not passed?


It is impossible to estimate with precision or reliability what the State would lose either in this financial year or in the remainder of the period for which the Coal Mines (Emergency) Bill is designed to operate, if the Coal Mines Control Agreement remained in operation, but the sum would be very considerable and might amount to £10,000,000 a year.


Has the hon. Gentleman's attention been called to the estimate which was made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Tuesday in which he estimated the sum at £20,000,000? Are we to understand that the Board of Trade differs from the Treasury?


I did not say it might not be £20,000,000. I said it might amount to £10,000,000. It is impossible to forecast what it might amount to.