§ 1. Mr. Eldon Griffiths
asked the Minister of Power what is his policy on the protection of home producers of coal against imported oil.
§ 3. Mr. Peyton
asked the Minister of Power when he will make a statement on the detailed provisions of his national fuel policy.
§ 8. Mr. Palmer
asked the Minister of Power if he will introduce legislation to reduce the burden of interest charges carried directly by the National Coal Board, in order to assist the development of a realistic general fuel and power price structure.
§ 16. Mr. McGuire
asked the Minister of Power what steps he has taken, following Her Majesty's Government's study of methods to assist the industry, in maintaining the present size of the coal industry.
§ 30. Mr. William Hamilton
asked the Minister of Power if he will make a further statement on the progress he is making towards capital reconstruction of the finances of the National Coal Board.
§ 31. Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd
asked the Minister of Power if he will now make a statement setting out his national fuel policy.
§ 35. Mr. McGuire
asked the Minister of Power what steps he proposes to take to reduce net imports of fuel oil and gas oil from refineries abroad by encouraging greater use of home-produced coal.
§ The Minister of Power (Mr. Frederick Lee)
I am proposing to make a statement in the next few clays on the steps I am taking to assist the coal industry in the short term. As to the longer term, I would ask my hon. Friends and the hon. Members to await the outcome of the review of fuel policy I have in hand.
§ Mr. Griffiths
In view of the Minister's intended statement in a few days" time, will he bear in mind that, while it is appreciated that Lord Robens wishes to spread his costs over as large a production as possible, there is nothing sacrosanct about the figure of 200 million tons of coal if the country cannot use it? In making his statement, will he bear in mind the need of British industry for the cheapest possible fuel from wherever it is bought?
§ Mr. Peyton
The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that we are all very glad that his coyness on this subject is coming to an end. Can he give us some assurance that his statement will be made in the House and that it will be a comprehensive statement on all aspects of fuel policy?
§ Mr. Palmer
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the unfair and arbitrary burden of interest charges as between the fuel industries makes a proper comparison of the fuel industries impossible?
§ Mr. McGuire
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the coal industry has done great service to this country, and particularly to industrialists, and was the only industry which about the time of the last Budget provided cheap fuel for the steel industry? Will he also bear in mind that what the people of this country and especially the miners are looking for is not a politician's answer but a statesman' answer, and will he also bear in mind—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I think the Minister had better give his statesman's answer as far as we have got.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd
Has the right hon. Gentleman decided, like the First Secretary of State with his national plan, to keep his long-term fuel policy secret from the public and to release only selected bits of it when it suits him?
§ Mr. Speaker
It was answered with Question No. 1, possibly in the possible absence of the hon. Member.
§ Mr. Speaker
That may well be, but it is not a proposition on which I can become involved in argument. It was so answered.