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Volume 476: debated on Monday 26 June 1950

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power on the basis of what statistical data he reaches the opinion that fears of a coal glut and resultant unemployment are groundless.

I presume the hon. Member is referring to the statement which, after consultation with the National Coal Board and the National Executive of the National Union of Mine-workers, and with their full agreement, I made in the Press on 9th June. That statement was based on the following facts. We need several million tons more coal for the domestic user; with full employment and rising productivity, the demand for industry, power stations and gas works is increasing by about four million tons a year; we are getting 13 million tons a year by opencast working, which we shall end when we can get deep-mined coal instead; we could export many millions of tons more coal to our customers abroad.