HC Deb 17 November 1958 vol 595 cc830-1
22. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Paymaster-General how production and consumption of coal to date this year compares with last year; and what is the planned coal production for 1959.

Sir I. Horobin

Up to 1st November, production has been 181.8 million tons compared with 188.7 million tons last year; consumption, including exports, has been 173.8 million tons compared with 184.1 million tons. Production in 1959 will depend on the level of demand.

Mr. Nabarro

Having regard to the drop of 11 million tons in coal consumption this year compared with last year, and the fact that there is very grave anxiety in the coalfields about accumulated stocks of coal, much of a quality which could never be sold, and the fact that stocks are now 16 million tons, could my hon. Friend say whether he proposes to make any early statement as to future coal production policy?

Sir I. Horobin

Without accepting some of the alleged descriptions in my hon. Friend's supplementary question, I may say that these are matters which may very appropriately be dealt with in the forthcoming debate on the Coal Industry Nationalisation (Borrowing Powers) Order which the House will have an opportunity of debating in the very near future.

Mr. Edelman

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that this problem of over-production will be dealt with by stimulating industry generally rather than by making coal miners unemployed?

Sir I. Horobin

I am not quite sure what that question means. [Laughter.] I would like to look at it. I would like to read it carefully, but if it means what I think it means, that if there were less coal there would be less coal, I agree.

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