HC Deb 20 April 1953 vol 514 cc622-3
11. Mr. Gower

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what steps he will take to deal with the problems arising from the decision of the French Government to restrict purchases of British coal.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

The present restriction relates to the second quarter of 1953, and I am informed by the National Coal Board that they do not expect to have any difficulties in finding other markets for the coals which France has decided not to buy during this period.

Mr. Gower

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind not only the effect on the coal industry, but also on the future of our ports; and in this connection will he consider the very particular dependence of the South Wales ports, including that in my own constituency, Barry, upon coal as an export, for which for them there is no adequate substitute?

Mr. Lloyd

I am afraid it means that other ports will benefit and that some of the South Wales ports will suffer in this quarter.

Mr. Bottomley

Will the Minister make the strongest possible representations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pointing out that the French are imposing these restrictions and that they ought not to do it in view of the recent decision of O.E.E.C?

Mr. Lloyd

We have made representations to the French Government.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Will my right hon. Friend say whether the decision was made by the Coal and Steel Community, and, if so, what were the recommendations of our delegation at Luxembourg?

Mr. Lloyd

This was a decision by the French Government.