HC Deb 18 June 1956 vol 554 cc1025-6
8. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what increase in the use of oil as a source of industrial power has occurred in the last 12 months compared with the immediately preceding 12 months; and what coal economy has thus been promoted.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

Total deliveries of black oils—other than refineries' own consumption and diesel oil for road vehicles —increased by 1.2 million tons, or 18 per cent., between the year ending March, 1956, and the previous year, the coal equivalent of the increase being about 2 million tons.

Mr. Nabarro

Can my right hon. Friend say whether he proposes to place the same emphasis upon, and view with the same satisfaction, the increased use of oil as a substitute for coal, as did his predecessor, or has there been any change of Ministerial policy in this material regard?

Mr. Jones

I cannot view with satisfaction the substitution of oil for coal, for oil involves a net burden on the balance of payments—

Mr. Nabarro

Just what I have been saying.

Mr. Jones

—but I am afraid that I cannot share my hon. Friend's restrictionist—as I see it—attitude towards the energy problem. That problem is not one of the substitution of one form of fuel for another. The problem is such that we need every kind of fuel we can lay our hands on. To sustain British industry and employment at a high level, we have to have great imports of oil and speed up conversion to oil.

Mr. J. Griffiths

While we may have some differences of opinion with him, is the Minister aware that we admire the way in which he is standing up to "Big Brother"?

Mr. Nabarro

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am sure your attention has been drawn to the Orwell play, "1984". Is it in order for the right hon. Gentleman to speak of me as "Big Brother"?

Mr. Speaker

I thought it was a term of affection.

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