§ 17. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Paymaster-General what diminution of domestic coal consumption occurred during the 12 months ended 31st January, 1959, compared with earlier years; what estimate of the reasons for this has been made by his Department; and to what extent this diminution is due to implementation of clean air policy.
§ Sir I. Horobin
Disposals to domestic consumers in the 12 months ended 31st January, 1959, were a million tons more than in the previous 12 months.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Does that Answer not dispel at once all the allegations made by representatives of the National Union of 12 Mineworkers opposite that deliberate discrimination is being indulged in by Her Majesty's Government against the coal industry? Has my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary directed his Answer particularly against the hon. Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Blyton) who made that preposterous suggestion?
Mr. T. Williams
Does not the Answer indicate that the rationing of coal was kept on for far too long?
§ Sir I. Horobin
I am very glad to have the view of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that, in this case at least, they are in favour of getting rid of rationing. The excess demand due to derationing plays only a very small part. It was an odd thing that the previous year was one of the warmest for a very long time while last year was one of the coldest. That has a great effect on the amount of coal people want. Therefore, to ask how much coal we shall need in five years' time is not a very helpful exercise.
§ Mr. Blyton
Is the Minister aware that we are not at all concerned with the private war which the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) is carrying on against the National Union of Mine-workers and that we still say that discrimination is exercised under the Clean Air Act against mechanically-stoked furnaces and in favour of oil furnaces.