§ Mr. Giles Shaw
Any valid comparison between support for coal in Community countries should first consider the level of long-term commitment being made in terms of investment expenditure, where the United Kingdom leads by a substantial margin on the 1982 Commission figures:
£ million United Kingdom 698 Federal Republic of Germany 264 France 38 Belgium 26
Other member states put a greater share of their support for the coal industry into operating subsidies, aimed simply at balancing losses and without long-term investment benefits. The 1982 figures published by the European Commission are as follows: 104W
£/tonne £ million United Kingdom (financial year 1982–83) 3.2 402 Federal Republic of Germany 4.5 423 France 17.2 310 Belgium 17.7 112
Note: Aids towards social costs such as pensions and redundancy payments have not been included in the table because the wide variations between general social security arrangements in the different Member States preclude fair comparison. The German 'coal penny' has also been excluded because it is not a subsidy to the coal industry but rather a tax on electricity consumers which is distributed to the electricity industry in compensation for using uncompetitive coal supplies.
Overall, in respect of investment and operating subsidies taken together, the United Kingdom is clearly providing more financial support to its coal industry than any other Community country.