HC Deb 28 March 1960 vol 620 cc931-2
18. Mr. Whitlock

asked the Minister of Power whether it is now the Government's intention to implement the proposals of the Robson Committee for improving efficiency in coal distribution.

The Minister of Power (Mr. Richard Wood)

The Committee's only recommendation in this regard related to the establishment of large, fully mechanised coal depots. On this, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply on 23rd November, 1959, to the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Fitch).

Mr. Whitlock

But will the right hon. Gentleman agree that between the pithead and the fireplace there is a multiplicity of factors, agents, middlemen and retailers—

Mr. Nabarro

And the co-ops.

Mr. Whitlock

—and has he considered the suggestion of the Robson Committee of an investigation into the possibilities of rationalising this trade?

Mr. Wood

I answered the hon. Gentleman's hon. Friend earlier to say that my predecessor recognised that he was obliged to hold consultations about this matter; but there are a number of difficulties, as the hon. Gentleman will be aware, in face of the setting up of these mechanised coal depots. I am perfectly willing to help in those discussions if those discussions reach a point at which I usefully could help.

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