HC Deb 28 October 1992 vol 212 cc681-2W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the cost to the Government of maintaining output at the 31 pits scheduled in his announcement of 13 October to be closed; whether this includes the market value of the coal being stockpiled; and whether he will publish a table showing exactly how the £100 million per month referred to in that announcement is made up by item of expenditure.

Mr. Eggar

[holding answer 27 October 1992] British Coal has said that it cannot expect to sell more than 40 million tonnes of coal to the electricity supply industry next year. This is 25 million tonnes less than in the current year.

The cash operating costs of the pits concerned are about £100 million per month. This excludes stocking costs.

The coal produced could only be sold at distressed prices, over an extended period, if at all.

Mr. Win Griffiths

To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many pits have been subject to the consultative review procedure on redundancies in the last decade; and how many have remained open following the review.

Mr. Eggar

[holding answer 26 October 1992]: The issue which the hon. Member has raised is a matter for British Coal.

Mr. Pike

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will request National Power and PowerGen to announce no further station closures during the moratorium on pit closures; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Eggar

The procedure governing power station closures by National Power and PowerGen is prescribed by a licence condition. The Director General of Electricity Supply announced last week that he has decided to appoint an independent assessor to examine the issues in relation to their power station closures.