HC Deb 23 April 1964 vol 693 cc1480-1
5. Mr. Kershaw

asked the Minister of Power if he will give a general direction, in the public interest, to the National Coal Board not to engage in the retail distribution of coal on its own lorries.

Mr. Peyton

No, sir.

Mr. Kershaw

While appreciating my hon. Friend's difficulty in giving directions about this, that and the other, may I ask whether he will bear in mind that there is great anxiety in the retail trade lest the Board should take the opportunity of the reorganisation of British Railways to go into the retail trade in a much bigger way? Will my hon. Friend see that Lord Robens understands this?

Mr. Peyton

I have no doubt that Lord Robens will take due note of what my hon. Friend has said, but I understand, if it is any comfort to my hon. Friend, that the National Coal Board has no immediate plans to extend retail activities to the Gloucester area.

Mr. Jeger

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that whereas many small distributors mix coals of different grades and sell them at a high-grade price, when the National Coal Board retails coal it gives an honest deal to the consumer?