HC Deb 26 March 1964 vol 692 cc633-4
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 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. Erroll

The greater number of the assets on which interest is payable are alive and not dead.

Mr. T. Fraser

Has the right hon. Gentleman ever considered a capital reconstruction of the industry?

Mr. Erroll

The subject has been considered.

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