HC Deb 13 February 1945 vol 408 cc10-1
17. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what increase in the output of coal is attributed to the secondhand machinery provided through Lend-Lease from the U.S.A.; and, in view of the fact that this machinery is not a cheap method of mining, what steps are being taken to hasten production by a more efficient method.

Major Lloyd George

During the past year a quantity of equipment, some new and some partly used, has been put into operation to assist in the production of coal by open-cast methods, and I assume that this is the machinery to which my hon. Friend refers. It is impossible to say accurately what increase in output by open-cast milling can be attributed to its use but I am advised that 40 per cent. may be taken as an approximate figure. Some of this plant is specially adapted for the working of coal at lower depths which might otherwise be impracticable and a staff of expert American engineers is available to promote its most efficient use.

Mr. Edwards

Is the Minister aware that the Office of War Production in Washington has stated that the increase in production is 12,000,000 tons, and that this is not at all an efficient method of producing coal?

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

Is it not a fact that this machinery is mainly the responsibility of the Minister of Works, and that the Question ought to be addressed to him?