§ 24. Mr. BOOTHBY
asked the Secretary for Mines when the three counties scheme for a levy of 3d. a ton on the home consumer in order to subsidise the Humber coal export trade is expected to come into operation; and whether, seeing that this scheme would, in practice, be disadvantageous to the coalfields of Durham and Northumberland, he proposes to take any action in the matter?
§ Commodore KING
My hon. Friend may have seen that it was announced in the Press that this scheme was to take effect as from 1st March, 1928. I understand, however, that the details of the scheme are still under discussion and I do not know when it will become operative. It is being worked out upon a voluntary basis and I would hesitate to express any opinion on it until negotiations are more advanced.
Is it not a fact that combines of this sort were recom- 955 mended by the Sankey Commission, by the whole of the Press, by the public and by every party in the House?
§ Mr. BOOTHBY
Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman watching the progress of this combination, so that in the event of it acting disadvantageously to Northumberland and Durham, he can take action subsequently?
§ Mr. MACQUISTEN
Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman take into consideration that all combinations are directed against the consumer?
Does not the hon. and gallant Gentleman seek to prevent British coalfields attacking each other, and is he not aware that the Sankey Commission suggested rational and not sectional combination?