HC Deb 21 November 1960 vol 630 cc747-8
22. Mr. Wainwright

asked the Minister of Power what has been the annual cost to the Government of the bulk storage of oil for the years 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, and the estimated cost for 1960.

Mr. Wood

In round figures, the cost to my Department was £3½ million in 1956–57; and £2½ million, £7½ million and £7 million in the three succeeding years. The Estimate provision for 1960–61 is about £3 million.

Mr. Wainwright

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that members of the National Union of Mineworkers and the National Coal Board are greatly disturbed about discrimination between a nationalised industry and private enterprise? Does he not think that the Government should give a nationalised industry, which has a tremendous amount of stock at present, the same consideration in respect of the expenses of those stocks which private industry receives for the bulk storage of oil?

Mr. Wood

No, Sir. If the hon. Member is referring to discrimination in the sense of comparing the oil stocks and the coal stocks, then the two are in no way comparable, because the oil stocks are held as a strategic reserve and the coal stocks exist for entirely other purposes.