HC Deb 07 May 1962 vol 659 cc18-9
14. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Minister of Power what share of total United Kingdom coal output was raised in Scotland in 1948 and 1961; and what was the percentage increase or decrease in output in both areas, respectively.

Mr. Wood

The share of the country's output raised in Scotland was 12 per cent. in 1948 and 9½ per cent. in 1961. Between 1948 and 1961, the decreases in Scotland and Great Britain were 25½ per cent. and 8½ per cent., respectively.

Mr. Hamilton

Does not the Minister realise the seriousness with which Scotland regards this diminution of Scotland's part in the total mining industry of the country and fears that its competitive position will be further worsened by the selective price increases about which he has heard so much this afternoon? Does he realise that it is quite wrong for him to say that the Coal Board took account of the social consequences of these selective price increases, since, in fact, Lord Robens has gone out of his way to say that he does not accept the social consequences of the policy he is carrying out? In the circumstances, will the Minister look again at this matter and consider whether the social consequences are more important than the economic consequences?

Mr. Wood

I understand the serious view which those who live in Scotland and those who represent mining constituencies in Scotland take of this matter, but I take a serious view of my own responsibility, which, I understand, is to help the National Coal Board to break even and pay its way. Therefore, I must share the National Coal Board's objective of trying, as I have said several times this afternoon, to reduce the burden of the greatest losses on its finances.

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