Exports, Scandinavia (Quality)

Oral Answers to Questions — Coal Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7 November 1949.

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Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington 12:00, 7 November 1949

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what complaints he has received from Scandinavian countries concerning the price and quality of British coal; what action he has taken and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Hugh Gaitskell Mr Hugh Gaitskell , Leeds South

The few complaints from Scandinavian countries about the price or quality of British coal exports which have been brought to my notice have been referred to the National Coal Board, who are responsible for negotiating and executing their own commercial contracts.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Orpington

Has the Minister's attention been called to a statement by Mr. Hoffman that it is wrong in principle to raise the price of exports and not to raise the prices of domestic supplies? Has the Minister not heard Quern Jupiter vult perdere, prius dementat?

Photo of Mr Hugh Gaitskell Mr Hugh Gaitskell , Leeds South

Without being able to interpret the hon. Member's Latin quite so rapidly, I am aware that the O.E.E.C. are investigating the question of the dual price system. The House would make a great mistake if they thought that this system only occurred in connection with British coal exports. It is far more widespread.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lindsay Mr Kenneth Lindsay , Combined English Universities

Was it the case before the war that there was this difference between domestic and export prices of coal?

Photo of Mr Hugh Gaitskell Mr Hugh Gaitskell , Leeds South

I am afraid I could not say without notice.