§ 7. Mr. Harold Davies
asked the Minister of Power what is the present payment per year by the National Coal Board in standing interest charges.
§ Mr. Erroll
The N.C.B.'s outstanding liabilities to the Exchequer fluctuate from year to year and interest payments vary accordingly. Interest payable for 1963 was about £41 million.
§ Mr. Davies
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that my estimate for the year before was £43 million? What pressure is he bringing upon that troglodyte organisation, the Treasury, to formulate a new policy towards this burden 634 on the National Coal Board? Is it not time, with these pits closed, that assets now dead should no longer receive a 3 per cent. interest? If the coal industry is to be given the chance it deserves, there should be a new approach by the Treasury and the right hon. Gentleman's Department. Is he considering ways and means of cutting out the dead wood of worn-out assets?
§ Mr. T. Fraser
Has the right hon. Gentleman ever considered a capital reconstruction of the industry?