HC Deb 01 May 1950 vol 474 cc1399-400
34. Wing-Commander Bullus

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what percentage of the additional gross output obtained by the National Coal Board since nationalisation of the mines consists of stone

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

The figures invariably used in published statements of coal output are for saleable coal. This has risen from 181.2 million tons in 1946 to 202.7 million tons in 1949. No information is available as to the average percentage of dirt contained in the total saleable output before nationalisation, nor is it yet practicable to provide a reliable assessment of the average dirt content of the saleable coal now being produced.

Wing-Commander Bullus

Is the Minister aware that the estimate of the President of the British Association of Colliery Management is that 33 per cent. of the output is stone; and if he has not seen this statement, may I send a copy to him?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Mr. Walton Brown's views are entitled to every respect, but if he meant that one-third of the extra output which is going to the consumer is dirt, I could not 'possibly accept it.

Mr. Mitchison

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the right hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. H. Macmillan) described pre-nationalisation coal as fit only for crazy paving?

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is the Minister aware that what he calls " saleable coal " includes just what the National Coal Board will sell the consumer, which includes dirt as well as coal?

Mr. Noel-Baker

It is what the people will buy.