HC Deb 24 March 1958 vol 585 cc20-1
35. Mr. Russell

asked the Paymaster-General if he will estimate the total sum spent by industry in recent years in converting plant from burning coal to burning oil and in installing oil-burning equipment in new plant.

Sir I. Horobin

Precise figures are not available, but the total spent in the three years 1955–57 was probably about £30 million on steam-raising plant. Other figures are not available.

Mr. Russell

Would my hon. Friend not agree that it would be uneconomic for industry to do any conversion back to coal, as I believe is suggested in some quarters, for the purpose of using small coal?

Sir I. Horobin

Without committing myself, I can say very generally that it is no part of Her Majesty's Government's policy to endeavour to compel private enterprise, or any other enterprise, to do other than to choose the form of fuel which, in its commercial judgment, is the best.