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Volume 161: debated on Wednesday 14 March 1923

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asked the Secretary for Mines what steps he is taking to remedy the high cost of coal to householders and manufacturers, taking into account the low sum paid to the miner and the small percentage of profit taken by the salesman; and is he aware that in four vitally important industries the cost of coal is the chief factor in unsuccessful competition with foreign nations and thereby causes much unemployment at home?

My predecessor referred to the Coal Advisory Committee the question of the possibility of effecting economies in the costs that make up the price of coal to the consumer. The Advisory Committee, after investigation by a sub-committee, reported that

"The Mines Department no longer possesses statutory powers to regulate coal prices or to control the distribution of supplies, and we do not see what action they can usefully take."
I am sending my hon. and gallant Friend a copy of the Report. I agree with its conclusions.