HC Deb 20 April 1959 vol 604 c15
20. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Paymaster-General what general directions have been given to the National Coal Board regarding the devotion of part of its capital investment to further developments in the use of coal for by-product purposes.

Mr. Maudling

None, Sir.

Mr. Shinwell

This is astonishing. Has the Ministry no interest in this matter? Are we to understand that when the Ministry agrees about the capital investment by the National Coal Board it issues no direction whatever? Can the National Coal Board do as it pleases? Is he aware that unless something drastic is done very soon about the production of by-products from inferior coal there is very little future for the coal industry of this country?

Mr. Maudling

If the right hon. Gentleman will look again at the Act, with which I should have thought he was familiar, he will find that it is not a question of general direction at all but that in framing programmes for capital outlay the Board shall act on lines settled from time to time with the approval of the Minister.