HC Deb 07 December 1954 vol 535 cc753-4
12. Mr. Grimond

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the indirect cost to the United Kingdom Exchequer of the Northern Ireland subsidy on coal.

Mr. H. Brooke

This is expenditure under Section 3 of the Aid to Industry Act (Northern Ireland), 1953, and is borne on moneys provided by the Parliament of Northern Ireland. The outlay for the financial year 1954–55 is estimated at £750,000. The cost of services under the Government of Northern Ireland is taken into account when the annual amount of the contribution which the Government of Northern Ireland make towards Imperial liabilities and expenditure is determined.

Mr. Grimond

Does the answer mean that there is a reduction in the Imperial contribution from Northern Ireland on account of the subsidy? If so, would the Treasury look into the question of paying an equivalent subsidy in respect of other parts of Great Britain which are also across the sea and where the price of coal is exceptionally high?

Mr. Brooke

I thought that supplementary question might follow. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will put down a Question on the subject.

Captain Orr

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that such a proposal would be welcomed in Northern Ireland? In the context of this matter, will he examine the proposal that I made in a recent debate for the general subsidisation of transport?

Mr. Brooke

Certainly, Sir.