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Fuel And Power

Volume 530: debated on Monday 19 July 1954

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Sea Coal (Distribution)

23.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will give an assurance that every assistance will be given to reputable persons applying for a licence to distribute sea coal.

Yes, Sir, wherever adequate arrangements do not already exist for the distribution of sea coal.

As any contribution towards solving the coal shortage, especially in view of the high prices of domestic coal, must be welcome, could my right hon. Friend not do something to encourage people to distribute this sea coal?

Mining Subsidence

25.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will consult the Minister of Housing and Local Government on the representations made by local authority associations on the problems arising from mining subsidence, with a view to the preparation of legislation to extend the scope of compensation for subsidence damage.

I am in consultation with my right hon. Friend on this subject, but on the question of possible legislation I cannot add anything to the answer I gave the hon. Member on 30th November last.

Is the Minister aware of the very wide welcome given to the fact that the Minister of Housing and Local Government has received a deputation on this subject from the local authorities, and that very many take this as an indication that the Government are now considering legislation to implement the Turner Report? Will he confirm whether that impression among the local authorities is correct; and, if so, whether he can indicate that legislative action will come in the next Session?

I cannot confirm any impression which the hon. Member may believe exists. I think he had better await the result of the deputation.

Will the Minister also consult the Chancellor of the Exchequer and see whether the Turner Report could not be carried out without any considerable addition to the burden on the national Exchequer?

Power Cuts

26.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will give an assurance that the coal situation will not involve any serious electricity power cuts affecting domestic and industrial premises during the ensuing autumn and winter.

It would be absurd to give an absolute assurance because this must largely depend upon the level of coal production. The Government, however, are watching the position closely and are determined to take all necessary steps in good time.

Could the Minister at least give an estimate of what he thinks is the prospect in the coming months, for the benefit of those who use coal, both domestically and industrially, because such an estimate would be of help?

My hope is that the level of coal production and such other measures as the Government may take will be successful.