HC Deb 08 March 1938 vol 332 cc1697-8
27. Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is aware that the independent accountant's joint report on coal prices for November and December, 1937, in Scotland, issued on 31st January, shows that the average all-in cost of producing a ton of coal in Scotland, for sale at the pit-head, is 13s. 1¼d. per ton; and what action he intends to take to protect consumers in Glasgow and the West of Scotland, who are paying 30s. to 45s. a ton for coal bought in small lots?

Captain Crookshank

I am aware that the wages ascertainment for Scotland gave for the month of December last an average cost of production per ton of coal raised and weighed at the pit-head of 13s. 1¼d. As regards the second part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the Prime Minister to a question asked by the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. Grenfell) on 17th February.

28. Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is aware that the coalowners made a net profit of 2s. 5½d. per ton in Scotland in January, exclusive of gains from selling agencies and byproducts; and whether he will consider the advisability of introducing legislation to curtail these profits so that working-class households may be able to buy coal at prices within their means?

Captain Crookshank

I understand that the wages ascertainment for Scotland showed a credit balance of approximately 2s. 5½d. per ton for December last. In January, the credit balance was lower, being approximately 2s. 1d. per ton. It is not proposed to introduce legislation on this subject.

Mr. Kirkwood

What satisfaction can we have in putting down these questions? In a previous reply the Minister referred to a reply which had been given by the Prime Minister. Now, when we put a further question to him, the Minister whose office it is, and who is responsible for this matter, refers us back to the Prime Minister. What is the use of the Secretary for Mines?

Mr. H. G. Williams

When some of us proposed an inquiry into this matter, did not the Labour party vote against us?