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Heavy Hydrocarbon Oils

Volume 436: debated on Tuesday 15 April 1947

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Next I take heavy hydrocarbon oils. Last August I announced that, to encourage the conversion of coal-burning plant to oil-burning plant, I proposed to repeal, in this year's Finance Bill, the duty of id. a gallon on fuel oil and gas oil and that pending the repeal, a subsidy of id. a gallon would be paid to consumers of such oils whether imported or home-produced. I shall carry out that undertaking now. I estimate the loss of revenue to be about £4,250,000 in a full year, and £4 million this year. I shall continue for the present, and with no immediate intention of extinguishing it, the existing subsidy on home-produced fuel and gas oils, and creosote pitch mixture, which will cost about £250,000 a year. It is not a joyful thing, but it is a national necessity, to import more oil to make good the shortage in our own supplies of coal. This ought not to be, and let us hope that when new habits have taken root, it will not be any more. But for the time being, it is necessary to do this. These imports are a further burden on our balance of payments, and they can only be justified—as they must be justified—if they increase, to an even greater extent, our own production of other goods for export.