HC Deb 28 November 1955 vol 546 cc1912-3
8 and 11. Mr. Gower

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power (1) what steps he will take to ensure that the proposed reduction in coal exports amounting to about 3 million tons is experienced equally by all coal-exporting ports and not only by the Welsh ports in the Bristol Channel; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he will take steps to ensure that the port of Barry will not suffer disproportionately from the proposed reduction in coal exports; and if he will make a statement.

21. Mr. G. Jeger

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that his restrictions on the export of coal have adversely affected trade at the port of Goole where coaling equipment is lying idle; and what proposals he has for increasing the exports of Yorkshire coal.

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

The decision to reduce exports must inevitably affect the exporting coalfields and ports. As to the size of that reduction and the distribution of exports among individual ports, I would refer to the replies given on 14th November to the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. Hamilton) and on 21st November to the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas).

Mr. Gower

Is my hon. Friend aware that the view is being expressed in South Wales that the South Wales coalfield and the South Wales ports are being asked to bear a disproportionate and unfair proportion of this reduction? Can he say whether his right hon. Friend does not feel that he should be chary of exercising this power, which he did not possess prior to nationalisation? In the days before nationalisation exported Welsh coal was famous the world over.

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

The power exercised by my right hon. Friend is in regard to the total allocation of coal for export and not in regard to the ports through which it is exported. On the special question which my hon. Friend raised, it does not look as though there is likely to be any discrimination against any port.

Mr. Jeger

Will not the hon. Gentleman answer the second part of Question No. 21, namely, what proposals he has for increasing the exports of Yorkshire coal'? Is he aware that the South Yorkshire coalfield, and Goole, which is the main outlet for Yorkshire coal, are very distressed about the reduction in exports and the decline in trade passing through the port of Goole?

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

I am afraid that the only solution to the broad question is increasing production. We have to appreciate that for the time being we have become an importing country for coal instead of an exporting one.

Mr. Gower

In view of the nature of that reply, on a matter which is of such importance to Wales, I beg to give notice that I shall seek the earliest opportunity of raising this matter on the Adjournment.

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