HC Deb 28 November 1983 vol 49 c647
13. Mr. Hannam

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the total value of Government investment in the coal industry since May 1979; and how this compares with the corresponding amount of investment in the French and West German coal industry's.

Mr. Giles Shaw

Since May 1979 the National Coal Board has invested £3,500 million in coal production. Estimates from the European Commission indicate that over the same period the coal industries of the Federal Republic of Germany and France achieved only one third and one twentieth respectively of the level of investment in Britain.

Mr. Hannam

Does my hon. Friend accept that those figures show our level of investment in the coal industry to be higher in relation to output than in France and West Germany? Should not priority now be given to achieving greater productivity and lower prices, so that we can capture the available coal markets?

Mr. Shaw

I agree with my hon. Friend that the task before the industry is to increase its competitiveness by every means possible.

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