Capital Investment (Durham)

Oral Answers to Questions — Coal – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th April 1959.

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Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington 12:00 am, 13th April 1959

asked the Paymaster-General what proportion of capital investment to be made available to the National Coal Board will be used for the purpose of producing by-products in the county of Durham.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

My noble Friend approves the general lines of the National Coal Board's investment programme, which includes provision for the production of by-products, but the details of the programme are a matter for the Board.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

How are hon. Members to obtain information about these matters? We are completely in the dark. Surely at a time when there is far more coal, particularly of an inferior quality which cannot be used for ordinary domestic or industrial purposes, it is desirable that the National Coal Board should expedite its arrangements and organisation for the purpose of producing byproducts? Otherwise, what will happen to the coal industry?

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

The respective responsibilities of the National Coal Board and the Minister were settled by the Statute. I am sure that the National Coal Board would be happy to provide the right hon. Gentleman with the information if he asked the Board for it.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Why should 1 or any other right hon. or hon. Member be asked to approach the Board to obtain the information? Why cannot I get it direct from the Minister? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when the Act was passed it was never anticipated that matters concerning general policy—the production of by-products is general policy—should be as between hon. Members and the Board? This is the place where we should obtain the information.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

The question, which refers to the proportion of capital investment to be used for the purpose of producing by-products in Durham, can be regarded only as a particular and not as a general issue.