§ Mr. PERKINS
asked the Minister of Munitions whether he is aware that the increasing price of Scottish hæmatite iron is due in great measure to the shortage of Scottish splint coal; whether he can state the amount of splint coal which is now being exported; and whether, in view of the importance of hæmatite iron 51W production, he will consider the advisability of prohibiting the exportation of splint coal during the War until he is satisfied that the home requirements have been met?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I am not prepared to assent to the statement contained in the first part of this question. I regret I have no available data as to the amount of splint coal exported. As, however, the exportation of coal has already been prohibited, none can be exported without a licence. The shortage of splint coal in Scotland was recently brought to the notice of the Ministry of Munitions by the Scottish ironmasters, and was referred to the Coal Exports Committee early this month. I understand that the Exports Committee met a deputation from the Lanarkshire Coalmasters' Association on 9th December, when the Association undertook to arrange among themselves that the coal in question should not be exported unless and until home requirements were met fully. At the same time it was distinctly understood that should the action of the association not secure the desired object, licences to export the coal would not be allowed.