HC Deb 20 May 1957 vol 570 c832
2. Mr. Owen

asked the Paymaster-General how much coal was undistributed at collieries at the latest convenient date.

Mr. Maudling

At 4th May, 1957, 2.7 million tons with a further 1.5 million at opencast sites.

Mr. Owen

Is the Minister aware that there is an increasing accumulation of coal in colliery sidings, particularly in a section of a Northumberland coal field, and that this is causing some concern to the mine workers of the area? Is it not possible to produce some additional incentive for consumers during the summer months so that this increasing quantity of coal can be removed?

Mr. Maudling

This is really a matter of administration for the board in which I should not intervene. I know that the board is aware of the difficulties that may arise if undistributed stocks become excessive, but so far I have not heard of congestion at the pithead. If the hon. Gentleman has any particular cases in mind and will send me details of them, I will convey the facts to the board.

Mr. Robens

Is it not the case that the problem is with smalls? Would not the Paymaster-General consider permitting an even greater amount for export in order to relieve the collieries of the large accumulated stocks they now have?

Mr. Maudling

There is a later Question on the Order Paper about exports. I do not think it is a matter of "permitting" exports. We should he glad to see increased exports of small coal.