HC Deb 01 April 1974 vol 871 cc247-8W
Mr. Hannam

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what would be the price of coal if all subsidisation were removed from the industry; and what is the comparative price of oil (a) per ton and (b) per therm.

Mr. Eadie

The planned increases in pithead coal prices from 1st April and in the autumn should enable financial support to the National Coal Board in 1974–75 to be confined to not much more than £50 million. The delivered prices of both coal and oil to the consumer vary according to the amount and quality of the fuel he requires and his location. The exact form of the autumn coal price increases will be a matter for the NCB but the delivered prices of general-purpose coal and fuel oil for a typical industrial consumer are estimated to be of the following order:

£ a ton p a therm
Coal effective 1st April 9–12 4½–5½
Heavy fuel oil 31–35 7½–8½
Very large users such as power stations can obtain supplies at lower prices.

Mr. Skeet

asked the Secretary of State for Energy to what extent he estimates that the current demand for electricity has been inflated because of uneconomic domestic tariffs.

Mr. Eadie

I am examining this with the Electricity Council and will write to the hon. Member.