HC Deb 21 November 1960 vol 630 cc742-3
12. Mr. Watts

asked the Minister of Power whether he will give a general direction to the National Coal Board to refrain from further increases in the price of coal, while surplus stocks exist.

The Minister of Power (Mr. Richard Wood)

No, Sir. The Board's prices must continue to depend on its financial position.

Mr. Lee

Will the right hon. Gentleman also consider the case of the British Motor Corporation, which is similarly placed? The corporation has huge stocks and yet its prices are going up.

Mr. Wood

No, Sir. The British Motor Corporation is not a responsibility of mine.

Mr. Watts

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, in general, when a trading concern has surplus stocks, lower and not increased prices will sell them? Would he not also agree that the recent increase in the price of coal, made when Parliament was in recess, has not only caused hardship but has priced coal out of the market in favour of fuel oil?

Mr. Wood

If the National Coal Board had reduced the price of coal in stock, it would have had the effect that any extra coal bought from its stocks would have been replaced from current production. The effect on the stock position would not, therefore, have been very great.

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