HC Deb 07 November 1983 vol 48 cc16-7
21. Mr. Skeet

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the average output per man-shift in the National Coal Board in each of the last five years.

Mr. Giles Shaw

In 1978–79 overall output per man-shift was 2.24 tonnes. From 1979–80, on a slightly different definition, revenue output per man-shift has been as follows: 1979–80, 2.31 tonnes; 1980–81, 2.32 tonnes; 1981–82, 2.40 tonnes; 1982–83, 2.44 tonnes.

Mr. Skeet

Does my hon. Friend agree that those figures are wholly unsatisfactory, the reason being that old mines have been kept open instead of being closed? Would it not be in the interests of the coal industry to go ahead with more projects like those at Selby and the Vale of Belvoir?

Mr. Shaw

I understand my hon. Friend's point, but I pay tribute to the fact that at least the movement is significant and in the correct direction. The House must also be aware that there is a limit to how far the capital investment available can stretch in seeking to cover every eventuality. The Coal Board must concentrate it where it is most needed and where it can be used most profitably.