HC Deb 24 May 1954 vol 528 cc13-4
23. Mr. P. Roberts

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will consider giving a general direction to the National Coal Board to close down uneconomic coking plants, in view of the surplus of coking coal and the large stocks which will pile up this summer.

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

No, Sir. My right hon. Friend is not aware of any general surplus of coking coal.

Mr. Roberts

Will my hon. Friend not agree that the price of coke is too high and that this would be one method of bringing it down?

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

I do not agree that it would necessarily bring it down.

Mr. H. Hynd

Will the hon. Gentleman pay serious attention to the suggestion of the hon. Member for Heeley (Mr. P. Roberts) that in the case of a monopoly this House has a duty to see that the customer is not over-charged, and that that should apply to all monopolies as defined by the Monopolies Commission?

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

I quite appreciate that there is a duty to see that the customer is not over-charged, but this Question refers to the over-production of coking coal.