HC Deb 10 October 1944 vol 403 cc1548-9
16. Mr. Bowles

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what is the gross increase in profits of the colliery companies contained in the latest returns over those disclosed immediately before 3rd June, 1942.

Major Lloyd George

There has been no gross increase in profits but a decrease. I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate the figures in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

The figures are as follow:

Gross credit balance. Rate per ton.
Pre control. £
1941 16,150,000 1/9.15
1942 1st half 6,679,000 1/5.90
Post control.
1942 2nd half 6,891,000 1/6.10
1943 12,962,000 1/6.00
1944 1st quarter … 1,936,000 11.13

(The results for 1944 are subject to adjustment at the end of the year.)

Coal Commission

21. Miss Ward

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what is to be the future of the Coal Commission set up under the chairmanship of Sir Ernest Gowers; how far the work he undertook was completed before the outbreak of war; and whether any amalgamations have resulted during the war.

Major Lloyd George

Under the Coal Act, 1938, the Coal Commission became the fee simple owner of all unworked coal in the United Kingdom, on the 1st July, 1942, and its principal function is to exercise all the duties of unified ownership of the minerals. The Commission has also, however, a second function, under Part II of the Act, which is to endeavour to bring about the amalgamation of colliery undertakings, where they think it desirable. I assume that my hon. Friend is referring only to this second function. The Commission stated in their first annual report that they did not propose during the war to proceed with any proposals for amalgamations which might require the making of an Order by the Minister, but the future of Part II of the Act is now under consideration. With regard to the last part of the Question, a few colliery amalgamations have been made or are in course of preparation by the parties concerned.

Miss Ward

Am I to understand that Sir Ernest Gowers' contract for looking after all the minerals in the country is the same as his original contract was for being chairman of the Coal Commission, which was associated with amalgamation?

Major Lloyd George

There are two Parts of the Act, and the duties of the Chairman of the Coal Commission in the first Part of the Act are, as I have indicated, clearly laid down. In Part II also there are duties one of which is to form amalgamations wherever possible.

Miss Ward

The chairman is the same, with the old conditions of service?

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Can my right hon. and gallant Friend say how many amalgamations have taken place since 1942?

Major Lloyd George

I cannot without notice. There are not very many, but I will get the figure for my Noble Friend.

Mr. Buchanan

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman sure that Sir Ernest Gowers is earning his comparatively high salary?

Major Lloyd George

The hon. Member will appreciate that a tremendous lot of work which the Commission could do is inevitably held in abeyance during the war.

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