Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £10,000,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1922, for a subvention in aid of wages in the Coal Mining Industry.
May I venture to remind my hon. and gallant Friend that it was agreed it was undesirable we should have a discussion of this matter, as we were anxious to prevent things being said which would prevent a settlement of the disputes? I accordingly agreed to put down a Motion for Thursday next, which would enable a discussion to be taken then, if any Member wished to have such a discussion. I trust that my hon. and gallant Friend and hon. Members generally will postpone any observations they wish to make until next Thursday.
§ Colonel GRETTON
I want to ask a question, and do not propose to enter into any Debate. The question is, has any understanding or arrangement been made as to the price of coal in connection with the wages settlement which has been made? This is a matter of great interest, but nothing was said about it in the statement issued the other day. What effect will the wages settlement have upon the price, or what will the price be?
§ Mr. C. PERCY
May I call the attention of the Leader of the House to the fact that the morning papers announce that the price of coal will immediately rise by 2s. or 2s. 6d. per ton, and ask whether he knows of any ground for that assertion?
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Sir Robert Horne)
No arrangement was made about price. It is perfectly obvious that the Government cannot decide the price unless they are prepared to resume control, and acoord- 2498 ingly no arrangement of that kind has been made and the price of coal is left to the ordinary fluctuations of the market. With regard to the question as to a, probable rise or fall in the price of coal, I do not know any more about it than, the hon. Member does. I have no control over these matters. The market will decide what price is to be offered to the, seller, and what price he is prepared to take. It is obvious that when there is a shortage of coal, the price is liable to be higher, and that as it comes into the market the price will tend to go lower.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported upon Monday next.
§ Committee to sit again upon Monday next.