HC Deb 13 February 1964 vol 689 cc544-5
28. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Minister of Power what was the revenue from coal produced and oil refined, respectively, in Scotland in the latest complete year; what was the average number of workers employed in each of these industries; and what was the cost of importing crude oil.

Mr. Erroll

In 1962 N.C.B. colliery proceeds in Scotland were £88 million; the number of workers on colliery books averaged 64,000. The value of the output of Scottish refineries in 1962 is estimated at about £37 million and the value of the crude oil imports at about £28 million. The number of employees at the oil refineries was about 2,000.

Mr. Hamilton

Can the right hon. Gentleman understand—or has he attempted to understand—why the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland went out of his way in the Adjournment debate last Wednesday to compliment the oil industry on its contribution to the Scottish economy but made no reference whatever to the coal industry's contribution? Is there not evidence that the coal industry has made and will make a much greater contribution to the Scottish economy than the oil industry is likely to make?

Mr. Erroll

I think both industries are making important contributions. As I said earlier, I am pleased to see the improvement in the finances of the Scottish coal industry over the past two years. I should have thought the hon. Member would have welcomed the presence of oil refineries in Scotland, not only because of their direct output, but because their existence contributes to other industries in the neighbourhood. If he does not want more refineries there, I am sure that the north-east of England would be glad to have them.