HC Deb 08 February 1971 vol 811 cc19-20
28. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which undertakings of the coal industry currently running at a loss he plans to hand over to private interests.

Mr. John Davies

I have nothing to add to what my hon. Friend the Minister for Industry said in the House on 3rd December.

Mr. Hamilton

The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that the junior Minister, on the Second Reading of the Coal Industry Bill, said that it was Government policy to hand over these loss making ventures in the public sector to private enterprise. Does the right hon. Gentleman not see the absurdity of the Government's policy that where they hand over loss-making ventures in the public sector, they hand them over to private enterprise, but where the losses are in the private sector, they nationalise them?

Mr. Davies

What the Minister said—my hon. Friend and I are in full agreement on this—is that what is necessary first is to carry out a proper inquiry of what precisely are the non-colliery activities in the coal industry and the results in profit or loss. When that has been done, one would be able to take decisions, but not before.