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Coal Exports

Volume 955: debated on Tuesday 24 October 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps he proposes to take to increase the export of coal produced in the United Kingdom to the other EEC member States, in view of the fact that United Kingdom coal production has by far the lowest subsidy from Government sources of any of the other EEC States.

Our main opportunities for expanding coal exports lie in the field of steam coal for power stations. The National Coal Board is well aware of the needs and has been doing what it can, with my encouragement. The problem is that in order to compete with third country coal the board has to give large discounts on their cost-covering list prices. However, the Council of Energy Ministers will be considering, along with other coal schemes which are of little interest to us, proposals to aid intra-Community sales of power station coal, which I shall be pressing strongly since they would help our exports to compete with those from third countries.