HC Deb 10 October 1944 vol 403 cc1549-50
23. Mr Thorne

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what the Government receive in exchange for the coal they export to various foreign countries.

Major Lloyd George

The limited quantities of coal shipped to foreign countries are exported either to meet the operational needs of our Forces overseas or in order to obtain supplies essential to the United Nations' war effort. My hon. Friend will realise that I could not on security grounds give details of these supplies.

Mr. Rhys Davies

In view of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's answer to a previous Question to-day are we to take it for granted now, that we do export coal for sale abroad, in return for supplies coming into this country for the war effort?

Major Lloyd George

There is nothing inconsistent in this reply with the one I have given to the hon. Member. I have always said in this House that we export the minimum which is necessary, that is either for operational purposes directly, or for the furtherance of the war effort of this country.

Mr. Thorne

What is the difficulty in giving a return of the export of coal?

Major Lloyd George

The trouble is that a great deal of this coal is directly concerned with operations and, therefore, I cannot disclose the figures.

Mr. Shinwell

On what basis are we supplying coal to the civilian population of Italy, and are we getting anything in return for it?

Major Lloyd George

We have not supplied any coal to Italy since January.

Sir Joseph Lamb

Can my right hon. and gallant Friend give us an assurance that every effort is being made to produce coal in those countries where mining areas have been liberated?

Major Lloyd George

I can assure my hon. Friend we are doing everything we possibly can to increase the output of coal in these various districts, and also to increase that of other parts of the world. I assure him that I am doing everything I possibly can to make them as self-supporting now as possible.