HC Deb 08 February 1954 vol 523 c813
18. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power, for the latest convenient date, the distributed stocks of coal, in total and at power stations, respectively, and the comparative figures for 1947.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

On23rd January, 1954, total distributed stocks of coal were 16,700,000 tons compared with seven million tons on the comparable day in 1947. Stocks of coal held by power stations at the same dates were 5,400,000 and 1,300,000 tons respectively.

Mr. Nabarro

Does my right hon. Friend recall what happened in February, 1947, when every factory in the country was shut down through lack of fuel and 2 million men were thrown out of work? Do not his figures demonstrate the superiority of the Conservative Administration?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Does the Minister realise that coal has now been nationalised for seven years whereas in March, 1947, it had been nationalised for three months?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir, but it must be remembered that the fuel crisis of 1947 was caused by the fact that perhaps only 1 per cent. of the total annual coal production was unavailable at the time in the form of stocks at the critical juncture of the year. That was largely the responsibility of the Government. It is with that sort of problem in mind that the present Government have been careful, on both occasions for which we have been responsible, to build up the stocks with which to face the winter to a total of 2 million tons higher than in any year under the Labour Government.