§ 12. Mr. A. Roberts
asked the Minister of Power what assistance his Department is giving to the National Coal Board to increase coal exports.
§ Mr. Roberts
Does the Minister agree that the Ministry could assist by giving a directive to the National Coal Board to give guarantees to coal purchasers? Is the Minister aware that there are potential markets in South America and Japan if only the Coal Board would give the necessary guarantees to the purchasers?
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
Is the Minister aware that one of the reasons for the decline in coal exports repeats an experience which the coal mining industry had in the 'thirties—Polish competition. This is not competition at fair prices but is subsidised competition due to the Polish Government's desperate desire to get foreign currency. Has the Minister had any consultations with representatives of the Polish Government in order to deal with this problem, which is becoming serious?
When we were debating this issue on the Second Reading of the Coal Industry Bill I suggested that the Government might approach the Polish Government with a view to arranging further credits. Would not that be to the benefit of both the Poles and ourselves? Could he say a word about that?
§ Mr. Roberts
Is the Minister aware that some of these countries are offering much more substantial guarantees than the Coal Board is prepared to give and that this is one of the primary causes of our losing markets in the countries which I mentioned in my supplementary question?