HC Deb 20 February 1956 vol 549 cc4-5
8. Mr. A. Roberts

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will give an estimate of the price of domestic coal if no loss were incurred on imported coal.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

If supplies of our own coal were sufficient to meet demand so that no imports were needed, the price to the consumer would be about 2s. 6d. per ton lower than it is.

Mr. Roberts

Does not the Minister agree that this is an imposition on domestic consumers? Why should domestic consumers subsidise industrial consumers?

Mr. Jones

I cannot agree that it is an imposition. Consumers have to pay for the import of coal anyhow, and so far as this matter is concerned there is no distinction between industrial coal and house coal. My figure of 2s. 6d. applies to all coal.

Mr. Osborne

How soon are we likely to be in a position not to require imported coal?

Mr. G. Brown

Under this Government?

Mr. Osborne

Under this or any Govvernment.

Mr. Jones

I would inform my hon. Friend that imports in 1956 are likely to be far less than in 1955.