§ 12. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Minister of Power what reduction in coal stocks, undistributed, at 1st May, 1962, took place compared with undistributed stocks one year earlier; what financial effect such reduction had upon the finances of the National Coal Board; and what estimate he has made of the Board's financial loss forward, cumulative to 31st March, 1962, compared with the figure of more than £90 million at 31st December, 1961.
§ Mr. Wood
On 21st April, 1962, the National Coal Board's undistributed coal stocks were 4 million tons less than they were a year earlier. The stocklift and all other relevant factors are estimated to have reduced the Board's working capital requirements over the year to 31st March, 1962, by £11 million. I cannot give any estimate of the accumulated deficit at 31st March, 1962, in advance of the Board's half-yearly statistical statement, which will show the outturn for the first quarter of 1962.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Did my right hon. Friend observe that Lord Robens said recently that he expected the National Coal Board to pay its way this year? Is not that a very important statement?
§ Mr. Nabarro
I am sorry. I stand corrected. Would my right hon. Friend confirm that his anticipation is that there will be no continuing loss by the Board overall? Will he further tell the House why Lord Robens makes this statement in advance of he himself making a statement to the House? Why is my right hon. Friend allowing the Chairman of the National Coal Board to lead him along by the nose? Are we not the important people in this matter?
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I felt obliged to call the hon. Member for the next Question. The House will observe that we have taken a little short of half an hour to cover twelve Questions.