§ 4. Mrs. Hart
asked the Minister of Power what estimate he has made of the amount by which the anticipated annual demand for coal would be increased by the provision of an additional coal-burning 2,000 megawatt power station sited in Scotland; and what labour force would be required in the mining industry for its production.
§ Mr. Wood
The coal consumption of a power station depends on the load factor and other variables, but a station of this size, if operated on base load, would burn about 5 million tons of coal every year during the first years of its life. The National Coal Board tells me that this would be equal to the output of between 10,000 and 12,000 miners.
§ Mrs. Hart
Is it not clear that any decision that involved the provision of an extra coal-burning power station in Scotland would make an immediate large contribution towards solving the unemployment problem? Is it not also clear that if it is possible to look ahead 10 years at the increased demand for power which is bound to arise in Scotland if unemployment decreases and industry expands it might be possible to keep some pits open on the basis of that anticipated greater demand?
§ Sir G. Nabarro
Has my right hon. Friend read the evidence which I gave on this topic to the Mackenzie Committee on Electricity in Scotland in Edinburgh on 27th November, 1961? Would he take cognisance of the fact that it is much more economical from Scotland's 1105 point of view and would abate unemployment if, with the Secretary of State, he installed large coal-burning stations rather than continue with' the extravagant expenditure of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board?
§ Mr. T. Fraser
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is no possibility of water power being used in the power station which we are now discussing and that the South of Scotland Electricity Board is seeking advice, as we are informed, on whether it should be a coal-fired or an oil-fired station? In view of what the right hon. Gentleman has just said, will he give the House an assurance that, by the time his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is considering any proposals made by the South of Scotland Electricity Board on how this station should be fired, he will ensure that the Secretary of State for Scotland is made fully aware of the social case in favour of using coal?
§ 5. Mrs. Hart
asked the Minister of Power if he will initiate a meeting between the Central Electricity Generating Board, the South of Scotland Electricity Board and the National Coal Board to consider the possible siting in Scotland of two or more coal-burning power stations, initially to supply English needs, and later to meet the demands of an expanded Scottish economy.
§ Mrs. Hart
In pursuit of these opportunities, why does not the South of Scotland Electricity Board get together with the Central Electricity Generating Board and, perhaps, officials of the right hon. Gentleman's Ministry in order to discuss integrating the power needs of Scotland, England and Wales? Is it not becoming clear that, as a result of lack of consultation, the power estimates for Scotland for the next 10 years are likely to 1106 fall short of what will be required if we have industrial expansion, and is there not, therefore, a case for bringing the two together under the direct aegis of his Ministry? Will the Minister not close his mind to this suggestion and look at it again?
§ Mr. Wood
I assure the hon. Lady that I should not close my mind to a suggestion of this kind. The question of the fuel to be used in the next Scottish station is now being examined by the South of Scotland Electricity Board, and this is a matter which must be decided first before one knows how much Scottish coal would, in fact, be available for other purposes, and at what cost. Therefore, the first thing to be achieved is the completion of the examination which the South of Scotland Electricity Board is now carrying out.