HC Deb 15 June 1959 vol 607 c24
49. Mr. Darling

asked the Paymaster-General if he will estimate the probable percentage increase in oil refining capacity in the United Kingdom between 1960 and 1965.

Mr. Maudling

There is spare refining capacity in the world today and the oil companies have not yet announced plans for expanding the capacity in the United Kingdom after 1960. I regret that I am unable to make a forecast.

Mr. Darling

Will the right hon. Gentleman agree that, if our economy is to go on expanding and there is to be no further increase in oil refining capacity in this country during the next few years, we can make a very good guess at the supplies of the various fuels required for industries, and, therefore, to talk about free competition when one supply of fuel will be limited by capital investment is really not to present the true case? The needs of industries will be met by available fuels whatever the cost may be.

Mr. Maudling

I do not think that the problem now is one either of availability of coal or the availability of capital for the National Coal Board. The problem is to sell the coal in competitive conditions with the oil industry.

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