§ Mr. Neal
Is it not a fact that a gentleman's agreement existed between the National Coal Board and the steel industry concerning the production of industrial coke for the steel industry? Is it further correct to say that this agreement has now been broken by the proposed erection, with the aid of public 31 money, of a coke oven plant in Scotland to supply the steel industry? Which side is the Minister on in this controversy—the side of the private enterprise concern which has broken this agreement, or the side of the National Coal Board?
§ Mr. Wood
I do not think that the agreement has been broken. Perhaps the hon. Member has in mind both Colvilles' plant and Richard Thomas and Bald-win's plant. As I told his hon. Friend the Member for Dearne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) on 21st March, extensive discussions took place and eventual agreement was reached in connection with Richard Thomas and Baldwins coking oven plant. As for Colvilles, there were perfectly good technical reasons, including the very long rail haul, which made it quite impossible for the coke which it needed to be taken from outside.