HC Deb 28 June 1954 vol 529 cc884-5
4. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he can make a statement on capital allocation; and whether he has obtained an assurance that the required capital will be available for the long-term needs of all forms of power and fuel.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

I have no reason to doubt that it will be possible to meet these needs.

Mr. Smith

Is the Minister aware that the question of capital allocation in the Report of the Electricity Board causes some concern? In view of the great contribution being made to Britain's economic development by the Coal Board, the Electricity Board and the Gas Council, does the Minister not think that it should be his responsibility to see that these organisations have a long-term capital allocation so that they may plan a long time ahead?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes. There will be an opportunity for discussing that matter when the Gas and Electricity (Borrowing Powers) Bill comes before the House shortly.

Mr. Holt

In view of the low price—[HON. MEMBERS: "Low?"]—of British coal, is there any reason why the price should not be put up so that the Coal Board could provide out of their own earnings sufficient money to finance their own capital investment programme?

Mr. Lloyd

The Coal Board, broadly speaking, provide about three-quarters.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Would the Minister, for the benefit of some of his colleagues, say whether it is a fact that British coal is now the cheapest in Europe?

Mr. Lloyd

British coal is still the cheapest in Europe.

Sir W. Smithers

It used to be £1 a ton?