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Volume 440: debated on Thursday 17 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why fuel, such as anthracite grains, has been exported and is being exported from the United Kingdom, when it is urgently needed here at home in view of the grave shortage of fuel.

In the three months following the ban on coal exports from this country imposed in February last, shipments have averaged 43,000 tons per month compared with 420,000 tons for the corresponding period of last year. This coal is exported in the main to Eire, the Channel Islands, and His Majesty's Forces overseas. There are, in addition, a few special cases, where exports are permitted. One such case is the supply of a small quantity of anthracite to Canada.

Is not the same mistake as was made last year being repeated, namely, of exporting fuel urgently needed in this country, and will not such a policy, if pursued, aggravate the fuel crisis in the coming winter? What is the point of exporting anthracite grains to Canada, and then having to buy them back from the United States at a price which is three times higher?

The Canadian market for anthracite is of special importance, as many hon. Members know, and we are anxious to continue what is no more than a token export, in order to keep ourselves in that market.