HC Deb 28 June 1954 vol 529 cc882-3
24. Mr. Maude

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power to what extent exports of British coal are to be restricted this year, in view of his decision to increase imports of coal.

21 and 22. Mr. Dudley Williams

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power (1) how much coal is expected to be exported from this country over the next 12 months; and its expected price per ton;

(2) how much coal is expected to be imported over the next 12 months; and at what price per ton.

30. Mr. Fort

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how the coal exports this year compare with the anticipated coal imports.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Coal exports so far this year amount approximately to 6½ million tons, at an average f.o.b. price of about £4 9s. a ton, and imports to about 400,000 tons. I expect that in 1954 exports will be about 14 million tons as in 1953. About imports, I have nothing to add to the replies I gave on 21st June.

Mr. Maude

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a price system which enables coal mined in this country to be sold in this country at an average price that is probably too low, enables it to be sold abroad at a different price, and results in the necessity of importing coal at a still higher price is not really very satisfactory?

Mr. Lloyd

I could not follow my hon. Friend's supplementary question in every detail, but I would say that it is by no means only the price policy which is the reason why we are having to import coal this year.

Mr. Holt

Does the right hon. Gentleman not think it is time that the Coal Board got off average costing and on to marginal costing, and that until a step in that direction is taken there will be no solution of the fuel problem in this country?

Mr. Lloyd

One would have to face that that would mean a very considerable increase in the price of coal in this country.