HC Deb 06 March 1947 vol 434 cc638-9
36. Mr. Keeling

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what is the estimated decline, since 1939, in the average calorific value of mined coal owing to the greater admixture of stone, slate and dirt.

Mr. Shinwell

I regret that the information available is quite insufficient to enable any estimate of the kind desired to be made.

Mr. Keeling

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the decline in the calorific value has been substantial, and that therefore the decline in production over a period of years under Government control has in effect been even worse than the figures show?

Mr. Shinwell

There has been some decline, due to a number of causes, in the calorific value, but I doubt whether the decline is substantial.

Mr. Assheton

Is it correct that the Minister doubts that there has been any substantial decline?

Mr. Shinwell

That is what I said.

Mr. Glanville

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware—and will he inform the Opposition accordingly—that the reasons why there is so much slate and so on is that the late owners of the collieries re fused to spend money on machinery for cleaning and separating?

Mr. Speaker

Sir Waldron Smithers.

Sir W. Smithers

Is the Minister—

Mr. Speaker

I called the hon. Member for the next Question and not for a supplementary question.