HC Deb 23 November 1953 vol 521 cc19-20
34. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power, for the latest convenient date, the total of coal stocks and the comparative figures for 1952 and 1951; and whether this year's stocks, including the balance of the imports of 600,000 tons of large coal are now deemed adequate for this winter, and to cover normal winter hazards and contingencies, both in respect of the industrial and house coal markets.

31. Mr. G. Williams

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is satisfied that he has now imported sufficient coal for his requirements.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Distributed stocks on 14th November last amounted to 19.0 million tons compared with 19.4 million a year before and 17.1 million two years before. House coal stocks are at about the same level as last year and there are still some 200,000 tons of imports due to arrive before the end of the year. I shall, naturally, watch the position carefully.

Mr. Nabarro

While congratulating my right hon. Friend on the admirable progress which he has made with coal stocks in the last few weeks and on the prospects for this winter, may I ask him to emphasise once again that, in view of our very critical position in connection with the balance of payments, every ton of coal saved in industry or in the home by greater efficiency will lead to the direct contribution of an additional ton of coal for export and thereby help in this important balance of payments problem?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir. I entirely agree.

Mr. Slater

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when we were in office, and were importing coal to maintain our stocks position, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker) was criticised by hon. Members on the other side on the grounds of the shipping space used in bringing in those imports? Secondly, is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that while very much has been said about the price which is paid for coal today it would be for the benefit of his office to bring home to the people that the Coal Board are now carrying the burden of responsibility for £8,500,000for imported coal?