HC Deb 23 April 1968 vol 763 cc14-5
23. Mr. Edward M. Taylor

asked the Minister of Power whether he is aware that the higher prices for coal charged to the South of Scotland Electricity Board will add£4,000,000 to fuel costs; and whether he will refer these prices and the price charged for supplying the Lon-gannet Power Station to the National Board for Prices and Incomes.

Mr. Gunter

In its February, 1966, Report on Coal Prices (Cmnd. 2919) the National Board for Prices and Incomes recommended, and the Government agreed, that prices should reflect more closely the costs of individual production areas.

It would not be appropriate to refer to the National Board for Prices and Incomes the price to be charged to a single power station.

Mr. Taylor

Is the Minister aware that that decision of the Prices and Incomes Board acts against the interests of Scotland? Is he aware that the price of coal for the S.S.E.B. is£1 a ton more than for that supplied to the Central Electricity Generating Board? Is not that unfair? Can he do anything about it?

Mr. Gunter

The Prices and Incomes Board drew attention to the fact that the price of coal in Scotland was on average much higher—and that it was more costly to produce than was English coal. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the N.C.B.'s pricing system for industrial coals is designed to reflect the cost of production and technical characteristics of each coal. That has its effect on Scotland.

Mr. Ridley

Is the Minister carrying on the investigation which his predecessor started into the pricing policies of the Coal Board? Will he give an undertaking to tell the House when he has reached a conclusion about it?

Mr. Gunter

Yes, indeed. We are continuing that course and I give that undertaking.