HC Deb 10 December 1928 vol 223 cc1736-7W
Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he has been made aware of the complaints of the coal exporters, particularly those recently voiced by the Humber Coal Exporters and Shippers Association, of being unable to obtain sufficient supplies of coal to meet demands by foreign purchasers owing to the artificial restrictions imposed under what is known as the Five Counties Marketing Scheme; if he is aware that the Association complains of loss of trade, particularly in the Humber ports, as a result of these restrictions: and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter, especially in view of the subsidies being given to the coal export trade through freight rebates paid for by the general body of taxpayers?

Commodore KING

I have seen in the Press criticism by the Humber Coal Exporters of the policy of the Central Collieries Commercial Association and of the reply made by the latter Association. I do not propose to enter into this controversy, but I should like to point out that the latest figures in the possession of my Department show that from April last, when the Central Collieries Commercial Association's policy became effective, to 31st October, exports from the Humber had increased 74.5 per cent. and foreign bunker deliveries by 8.5 per cent. compared with the corresponding period of 1927. I do not accept the hon. and gallant Member's suggestion that the advantages secured to the coal mining industry by the Government's de-rating proposals can properly be described as a subsidy.