§ 41. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power on what grounds he has decided that the debt to the taxpayer of £27,000,000 on the Coal Charges Account should be written off and not carried by the National Coal Board.
§ Mr. Shinwell
I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies) on 14th February. The debt on the Coal Charges Account arose through the Account bearing some special production costs during the period of the war, which were not recovered currently in the proceeds of sale of coal. Since the cessation of hostilities the account has been operated in a manner which shows approximate equilibrium between income and expenditure and it was considered appropriate that with the termination of the Coal Charge, which was wholly a wartime expedient, the balance on the account should be written off.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House why the Coal Board should not assume what was a liability of the coal industry, instead of pushing it off on the long suffering taxpayer?