HC Deb 20 April 1937 vol 322 cc1571-2
28. Sir Hugh Seely

asked the Secretary for Mines whether Imperial Chemical Industries, Limited, have any obligation to furnish the Government with reports on the progress of the Billingham coal-oil plant; whether such information is in fact supplied; and whether his Department is at liberty to publish it to Members of this House?

Captain Crookshank

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. As regards the second and third parts, certain information has been supplied to the Government and from time to time particulars have been given in Parliament of the progress made by reference to the production obtained. I am not at liberty to publish other information, which has been furnished in confidence.

30. Mr. Day

asked the Secretary for Mines particulars of the amount of State assistance that has been given to date for the purpose of extraction of oil from coal in low-temperature or other carbonisation process; and whether he is in a position to make a statement as to the productive results of the experiments with the object of reducing these propositions to a commercial basis?

Captain Crookshank

Motor spirit produced from coal has enjoyed a preference since the imposition of the duty on imported motor spirit in April, 1928. During 1933 to 1935, the last three years for which information is available, the quantity of motor spirit obtained by the high and low temperature carbonisation of coal was about 116,000,000 gallons. The amount of the duty at 8d. per gallon payable on this quantity of imported spirit would be about £3,900,000. As regards the second part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave yesterday to a question by the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. G. Hall).

Mr. Day

Are these experiments still under the supervision of the Fuel Research Board?

Captain Crookshank

The Fuel Research Board naturally watches everything that is going on. I do not know what the hon. Member means.