HC Deb 09 May 1922 vol 153 cc2005-6
80. Sir R. CLOUGH

asked the Secretary for Mines the average price of coal to home consumers and the average price of coal for export; what is the reason for such a great difference between the two quotations; and whether, since such difference confers an advantage on our foreign trade competitors, he can make any representations to the colliery owners for a reduction in home rates with the object of stimulating trade and employment?


The average declared f.o.b. value of coal exported in March was 22s. 3d. per ton. This includes the cost of carriage from pit to port and is estimated to be equivalent to an average price of between 17s. 6d. and 18s. 6d. at the pit. It is not easy to quote an equivalent average pithead price for home industrial coal as prices range from a few shillings per ton for inferior slack to about 27s. per ton for large steam coal, but I have no reason to suppose that there is an appreciable difference between the price to the foreigner and the price to the home consumer for similar classes of coal. I strongly deprecate the suggestion made at the end of the hon. Member's question. In the coal mining industry both owners and men have made great sacrifices to further a return to economic industrial conditions. Other industries would be better advised to follow the example of the coal mining industry than to call upon it for further sacrifices.


Is it not a fact that when the industry was under control that coal was supplied to British industries and given a preference of at least £1 as compared with the price of coal supplied to foreigners, and having regard to that fact, will the hon. Gentleman make representations to the Government that it is advisable to get back again to control?


I do not think I can endorse the first part of the question; as to the latter I am afraid I cannot agree with the proposal.