HC Deb 08 May 1990 vol 172 c20W
Mr. Dobson

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy, pursuant to his intervention of 4 December 1989,Official Report, column 41, what was the value of British Coal on 31 March 1990.

Mr. Wakeham

The value of British Coal as at 31 March 1990 will depend on a detailed assessment of the earnings potential of each mine over its remaining life. I expect this work to be completed by late summer. I cannot prejudge in the meantime what this final figure will be. I have, however, satisfied myself that under any likely scenario over half the Corporation's collieries are likely to show a negative cash flow over their remaining lives, and that this will lead to the write-off of at least half the industry's £4 billion fixed assets. On this basis, and taking into account the losses incurred in 1989–90 and earlier years, I have in accordance with section 1(3)(b) of the Coal Industry Act 1990, paid British Coal an interim sum of £3 billion in deficiency grant. This sum was paid on 29 March 1990 and allowed an immediate and corresponding repayment of outstanding debt.

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