HC Deb 06 November 1950 vol 480 c587
37. Mr. Fort

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how much compensation has been paid to the contractors working the opencast coal sites at Higham, near Burnley.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

I have received no information about the payment of any compensation to the contractors who are working the opencast site at Higham, near Burnley.

39. Mr. Fort

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if the working of the opencast coal sites at Higham, near Burnley, was let out to the contractors by tender; and if the lowest tender was accepted.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

I understand that the hon. Member's question refers to the sites in the West Close zone. Tenders were invited for the production of coal from the original site, for the crushing of coal, if and when that was required and for the provision of a crushing and screening plant. My Department accepted the tender which gave them the lowest price for this work, taken as a whole. Another contractor offered a lower price for the production of the coal, but he was unable to provide the plant required. In accordance with my Department's normal practice, the original contract was extended by negotiation to cover adjacent sites.

Mr. Fort

I am unable to follow the Minister's remarks about the western districts, as this question specifically refers to Higham site near Burnley. Was that contract concerned with the whole of East and West Lancashire? To what exactly is the Minister referring?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I was referring to the same site as the hon. Member, but to the original site for which tenders were invited, were subsequently added other adjacent sites which had not been proved at the time of the original tender.