HC Deb 01 August 1935 vol 304 cc2852-4

asked the Secretary for Mines the quantity of coal exported from South Wales to France, Italy, Germany and Spain for each of the last four years and for the first six months of 1935?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Captain Crookshank)

As the reply involves a number of figures I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Has the hon. and gallant Member's attention been drawn to a statement in the newspapers about the export of coal to France being cut down?


Yes, Sir, I have read it.

The information is as follows:

65 and 67. Brigadier-General NATION

asked the Secretary for Mines (1) what steps he proposes to take to ensure that supplies of the kinds of coal required by Scandinavian buyers, under trade agreements, are made available to the full extent required by them;

(2) whether he has considered the findings of the Midlands district committee of investigation of 5th June last that trade in export and bunker coal is being lost continuously; and, as the delay in giving effect to the committee's, findings is seriously damaging the interests of the country, he will say what steps he proposes to take to remedy this state of affairs?


I assume that my hon. and gallant Friend has in mind supplies of coal from the Midland (Amalgamated) District, as I am not aware of any difficulties in regard to supplies from other districts. Pending the outcome of the steps which, as required by Section 5 (6) of the Act, I have taken in regard to the findings of the District Committee of Investigation I have impressed upon the District Executive Board the necessity of taking prompt steps to make adequate supplies of coal available for the purposes named. I understand that the tonnage of coal available under the export supply quota which has been declared in respect of the current month represents an increase of approximately 25,000 tons over the comparative figure for July, and I am assured that this quota will be increased if the needs of the market so require.

66. Brigadier-General NATION

asked the Secretary for Mines what steps he proposes to take to enable those collieries which are willing and able to produce coal for export, foreign, and trawler bunkers, to do so without restriction of any kind?


In reply to the other questions put down by my hon. and gallant Friend I have explained the steps taken to meet the immediate situation. As regards the future, I must await the result of the action which I have taken following the recommendation of the district committee of investigation after its inquiry into the complaints lodged by the Humber Coal Exporters' Association. I take this opportunity of reminding those concerned that when the industry's proposals for amendment of the Schemes under Part I of the 1930 Act so as to provide for separate allocations for the inland and export trades were accepted by the Government and the Bill then before Parliament was withdrawn, this was done on the assurance that the needs of the export trade would be fully met. Naturally the Government expect this assurance to be fulfilled.

70. Mr. G. HALL

asked the Secretary for Mines whether his attention has been called to the suspension of certain French contract business for Welsh coal, caused by French coal importers who are endeavouring to pass on the national economy cuts in their retail prices; and what steps he proposes to take to deal with this matter?


I have seen reports in the Press that attempts are being made by French coal importers to pass on to South Wales exporters the proposed reductions in the price of retail coal in France, but I can get no confirmation of these reports.


Has the attention of the Secretary for Mines been drawn to a report in to-day's newspapers concerning a reduction of the quota of coal from this country to France? Is he aware that as compared with 1930 the export of coal from South Wales to France is down from 7,000,000 tons to just over 4,000,000 tons this year?


I am afraid that the reductions are great. I have seen the report in the newspapers, but, as I have said, I have no confirmation of it.


May I ask whether it is the intention of the Secretary for Mines or the President of the Board of Trade to deal with this matter, which is of serious consequence to South Wales?

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

May I ask whether the first information the Secretary for Mines gets is in the newspapers, or whether the French Government communicate in advance their intention?