HC Deb 08 February 1954 vol 523 cc812-3
17. Mr. Harold Davies

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power on what date the price of South Wales anthracite is to be raised an average of 10s. a ton; and to what extent other increases in price of fuel are envisaged.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

8th February is the date specified in the announcement made by the National Coal Board. Phurnacite and dry steam coals are also affected. I have at present no further proposals from the National Coal Board for price increases.

Mr. Davies

Is the Minister aware that were he on this side of the House he would fiercely attack a Socialist Government for not announcing an increase in the cost of anthracite of anything from 10s. to 23s. a ton? Why was the House not informed of this increase?

Mr. Lloyd

The announcement of these increases is a matter for the Coal Board, whose responsibility it is in the first instance.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Can the Minister say to what extent these increases have been brought about by the levy imposed under the Government's Transport Act, which is agreed in the Ministerial fuel statement to be one of the factors resulting in the increase?

Mr. Lloyd

The hon. and gallant Gentleman does not seem to have read the announcement made by the Coal Board, which gives the reason specifically as being the high cost of producing these types of coal and the very high demand for them, both at home and abroad.

Mr. Davies

Why was this announcement kept from the national Press? Only one newspaper, the "Recorder," reported it on Friday. Does the Minister realise that the fictitious cost-of-living index will be sent awry by this statement and that old people cannot live by spreading the cost-of-living index on their bread?

Mr. Lloyd

The actual form of the announcement was a matter for the Board.

Mr. Remnant

Can the Minister reconcile these increases in price with the announcement in the Labour Party Election manifesto that nationalisation would decrease prices all round?

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