asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why the loss on opencast coal per ton produced in 1944–45 was 16s. 9d. and in 1945–46 17s. 8d.; and how it is proposed to cut the loss to 7s. 6d. per ton over the three years 1947, 1948 and 1949.
In answer to the first part of the Question I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for the Spen Valley (Mr. Sharp) on 17th April, 1947 In regard to the second part of the Question, opencast working was at the outset regarded as having a short life and costs included heavy allowances for amortisation of plant and other capital expenditure. But now that a more extended period is contemplated provision for amortisation can be substantially reduced with a consequent reduction in these costs