§ Mr. Churchill
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps he has taken to underpin the future of the 12 pits of which he announced the reprieve on 29 March; if he will make a statement about the future of each of these 12 pits; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the most recent guidelines he has given British Coal and the generators about the level of strategic reserve coal stocks and the rate at which these are being drawn down.
§ Mr. Eggar
Decisions about the future of individual collieries are a matter for British Coal, after consultation with the unions. However, the Government have offered a subsidy to both British Coal and private sector coal producers that can secure a genuinely additional market for United Kingdom undergound coal for electricity generation at world-related prices where this is consistent with the relevant European Community provisions.
I understand British Coal is continuing to test the market for supplementary sales.
Guidance on the level of coal stocks for 1993–94 based on an analysis by the National Grid Company was given to the generators in March. It contains commercially confidential information which it would not be appropriate to make public. This guidance will remain in force pending the outcome of the Government's review of the basis for the current arrangements, which was announced in the White Paper, "The Prospects for Coal: Conclusions of the Government's Coal Review".