HC Deb 20 February 1956 vol 549 cc8-9
22. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will give a general direction to the National Coal Board requiring it to use more fully its powers under Section 1 (2) (d) of the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act, which enables it to produce any of its requirements in the production of coal.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

No, Sir. I see no reason to interfere with the commercial judgment of the Board in this matter.

Mr. Shinwell

Does the Minister not agree that these powers are vested in the National Coal Board? It has a power not only to produce coal but to distribute it, and also to provide all the apparatus for the purpose of production and distribution, including the production of mining machinery, conveyor belting and all its other requirements. If that is so, why should not it use those powers?

Mr. Jones

The National Coal Board already performs functions beyond the mere production of coal. Whether its functions, upon the Statute as it now stands, should extend to the distribution of coal—as I gathered the right hon. Gentleman to suggest—is another matter, and, I should have thought, one of great legal disputation.

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