HC Deb 20 November 1947 vol 444 cc1317-9
33. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power when he proposes to make a statement on the payment of compensation to coalowners whose mines have been nationalised.

Mr. Gaitskell

The procedure laid down by the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act, 1946, for the valuation of the assets of former coalowners and the payment of compensation therefor will necessarily take some considerable time. I propose to circulate a summary of the present position in the OFFICIAL REPORT and I am prepared to make further statements on the position from time to time.

Mr. Hughes

How long will it be before we know the worst about the compensation that has got to be paid to the coalowners? Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is one forecast that one big coal combine is to get £11 million in compensation, which represents £2 for every pound share? When will my hon. Friend be in a position to tell us something definite?

Mr. Gaitskell

My hon. Friend surely is aware that the global sum for compensation in the coal industry was settled by the tribunal some time ago, and there remains the figure to be paid for the ancillaries. That will take some time.

Mr. Gallacher

Would the Minister consider withdrawing the global sum in the meantime?

Following is the summary:

Central and District Valuation Boards: The Central Valuation Board, provided for under Section 12 of the Act, has been formed, and will commence its sessions in January, 1948. At the same time negotiations are proceeding to secure the most suitable professional and technical men to serve on the District Valuation Boards.

Statements of Interests: The Statements of Interests submitted by Owners are in course of examination with the object of constituting compensation units for submission to District Valuation Boards.

Cash Compensation for Stocks and Stores: It is anticipated that cash payments of substantial sums on account of stocks of products of colliery production activities and of consumable and spare stores will commence early in 1948, and are expected to amount to approximately £10 million by the ensuing end of March.

Interim Income-Revenue Payments: The machinery for the payment of Interim Income - Revenue Payments—under Section 22 (3) of the Act was put into motion on 22nd September, 1947, the date on which the relative Regulations came into force. Provisional payments of over £3 million have been made to date, representing approximately 50 per cent. in number of possible claims. The balance of claims for Revenue Payments are in course of investigation by the Independent Accountants.

The Ministry is in close touch with the Mining Association of Great Britain, the Federation of Small Mines of Great Britain, and with the National Coal Board on these matters.