HC Deb 08 July 1957 vol 573 cc18-9
20. Mr. Moss

asked the Paymaster-General the latest available figures of distributed stocks of coal; and what remains undistributed.

Mr. Maudling

Seventeen million, nine hundred and fifty-one thousands tons and 6,259,000 tons, respectively, at 29th June, 1957.

Mr. Moss

While the figures of stocks are usually high at this time, is the Paymaster-General aware that the Wath-on-Dearne Urban District Council is using the high figure of stocks in support of an argument that opencast production should cease, and that this council has been supported by the Meriden Rural District Council when the latter received a circular letter? Would the Minister like to say that this high level of stocks is no justification for the cessation of opencast production?

Mr. Maudling

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me the opportunity to say that these stocks are exceptionally high but that changes in the weather or a sudden increase in industrial production might cause them to disappear; the fact is that we still need all the coal we can possibly get.