§ Mr. Skeet
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what consideration he gave, when deciding upon the figure of £50 million to encourage the conversion from oil to coal-fired boilers, to the level of coal demand; and whether he considers that, with coal demand at about 118 million tonnes per annum and coal production at 126 million tons, a balance of supply and demand will be achieved.
§ Mr. John Moore
In deciding to introduce this scheme I and my colleagues had regard to a number of considerations, including in particular the importance of reducing our long-term dependence on oil, and the financial difficulties facing firms which want to convert their boilers from oil-firing to coal-firing.
The levels of coal supply and demand in any year depend on many factors. It is primarily the responsibility of the National Coal Board to keep the balance of supply and demand under review, and to take whatever measures it considers necessary. The coal-fired boiler scheme will undoubtedly help the board in its efforts to promote the important industrial market for coal.