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Domestic Coal (Imports)

Volume 530: debated on Monday 12 July 1954

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53.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power, assuming home production of domestic fuel to remain at its present level, what would be the quantity of imports of domestic fuel which he estimates would be required to do away with the present domestic fuel allocation; and what price it is estimated would have to be paid for such imports.

As my right hon Friend replied to my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) on 21st June, demand for house coal suppressed through restriction is estimated at about 3 to 4 million tons. The cost of importing this at present c.i.f. prices would be about £20 to £25 million.

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it would be well worth while and that we could afford it? In view of the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the weekend, in which he said that he wishes to go forward more quickly in the removal of the remaining controls, will the Minister consult his right hon. Friend to arrange for the necessary imports to be permitted?

My right hon. Friend and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are constantly in consultation on this matter.