I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, seeing that the present inflated prices of coal are injurious to the industries of this country and inflict hardship on small consumers, he will consider the desirability of appointing a Committee to inquire and report whether an export duty on coal could be imposed without injury to the best interests of the trade after the price of coal reaches a point which gives a fair return to the colliery owner on his capital and to the miner for his labour.
The question of an export duty on coal in all its bearings has received very full consideration by three successive Parliaments, as well as by His Majesty's present advisers and their predecessors in office; it was also dealt with by the recent Royal Commission on coal supplies in their Report, and I do not think that an inquiry such as is suggested would add anything to the information already available on the subject generally or with regard to the probable economic effects of the expedient proposed.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the price of coal at Cardiff is now 21s., as compared with 14s. a few years since? Does he realise the hardship thus caused to the general community?
I dare say the figures are as stated.