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Volume 961: debated on Monday 22 January 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy to what extent supplies of coal are being affected directly or indirectly by current industrial disputes.

Heavy coal stocking has been necesssary at collieries because of the road haulage and railways disputes. The effect on colliery working has so far not been really severe but shortages of supplies to collieries have caused continual difficulties and there have been some losses of current output. Opencast working has been seriously affected. Coal users are finding it increasingly difficult to get supplies. Much of industry is able, however, for the present to use stocks. Power stations and coke ovens have, in general, large stocks available. Domestic deliveries are generally reduced, but the effect of this has so far been cushioned by merchants' stocks.