§ Lord Grimond
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is the total amount, by way of investment and annual subsidy, paid by the taxpayer to the coal-mining industry over the last five years and what is the estimated total for the next five.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment (The Earl of Avon):
The total amount of deficit operating and social grants, accruing to the NCB, and payments under the redundant Mineworkers Payments Scheme in the five years 1979–80 to 1983–84 was £3.1 billion. In addition, the Secretary of State has approved capital expenditure programmes totalling £3.8 billion during this period.
I am not able to estimate the level of subsidy or of investment over the next five years. However, the Government intend that the NCB should end its dependence on deficit grant as quickly as possible. The Government will continue to support worthwhile investment in the coal industry.