HC Deb 11 July 1955 vol 543 cc1553-4
6. Brigadier Clarke

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how the profits on exported coal compare with the losses on coal he imports into Britain.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

At present the loss on coal imported by the National Coal Board exceeds the premium on the coal which it exports by about 30s. a ton.

Brigadier Clarke

Does not my right hon. Friend realise that he will get nowhere with his present coal policy and that he will finish up by bankrupting the country?

Mr. Lloyd

Perhaps I might remind my hon. and gallant Friend that I said last week that we were considering what should be the import and export policy for next year.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Does the Minister realise that the position is even worse in the North of Scotland? Is it not very unfair that certain citizens should have to pay more for coal than others? Will the Minister arrange a flat rate for coal all over this island?

Mr. Lloyd

No, Sir. That is quite a different question.

16. Mr. Warbey

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the loss on coal imported into Great Britain for each of the years 1947 to 1954 and for 1955 to date.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

I will, with permission, circulate the figures in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Warbey

As only seven or eight figures are involved, surely the Minister could give them now—or is he anxious to conceal the fact that if he gave the figures they would show that the greater part of the National Coal Board's alleged accumulated deficit is due to the fact that it has had to bear the losses on imported coal? Will he relieve the National Coal Board of this crazy Alice-in-Wonderland financial structure which burdens it?

Mr. Lloyd

The figures would not bear out the argument of the hon. Member, and in this case the Government have thought it wise to continue what the hon. Gentleman has described as the Alice-in-Wonderland policy initiated by the Socialist Government.

Dame Irene Ward

A jolly bad policy it was.

Following are the figures:

Loss to the National Coal Board on coal imported into Great Britain
Year Loss £
1947 1,698,000
1951 5,500,000
1952 1,200,000
1953 1,100,000
1954 5,029,000
1955 (January-June) Estimate 11,500,000

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