HC Deb 22 July 1991 vol 195 cc340-1W
Mr. Burns

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a statement on the action taken in response to the recommendations concerning British Coal's business planning in the 1989 report of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on the corporation's capital investment programme.

Mr. Wakeham

On 19 July 1990, at columns702–4, I informed the House that the British Coal Corporation had provided a second response to the MMC report on the corporation's capital investment programme, and that a copy had been placed in the Library of the House. Although the normal arrangements for following up MMC recommendations arising from section 11 inquiries do not require a further response from British Coal until 1992, I said that I would ask for an additional report this year on the steps taken to strengthen its business planning. British Coal has provided this, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House.

Since British Coal last reported I have appointed Mr. Neil Clarke as chairman of the corporation in succession to Lord Haslam, and he has carried out, with my support, a restructuring of the board. I very much welcome Mr. Clarke's decision to charge a director, Dr. Moses, with the specific responsibility of developing and co-ordinating the corporation's strategic planning, and I am confident that this will satisfy many of the concerns expressed by the MMC. I believe that these and other arrangements put in place by the board will enable British Coal to meet the challenges of the future with confidence.

British Coal will be submitting a final report to me next year on its implementation of all the MMC's recommendations. I shall inform the House when this further report has been made.