New Clause. — (Non-Ferrous Metal Mines in United Kingdom: Relief from Profits Tax.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st June 1961.

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Photo of Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop Mr Robin Maxwell-Hyslop , Tiverton 12:00 am, 21st June 1961

I should like to intervene briefly in the debate, because we have had some interesting and convincing speeches which might lead my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to believe that there is no need to help the Cornish tin mining industry and that the requirement for its production is now so obvious that any form of assistance is unnecessary.

6.15 p.m.

I should like, briefly, to stress a few points. Why is it difficult to restart Cornish tin mining? We have already been given some of the reasons, but I should like to give a few more. The first is that it is almost impossible to raise debenture capital on a mine. As distinct from a factory or an office block, if the enterprise fails the assets are practically worthless. In other words, all the capital has to be raised as risk capital. Secondly, the Cornish mineral deposits above sea level are to a large extent worked out. The rich deposits which are waiting to be won are below sea level.

The concomitant is that if a mine has to be closed for any period, it fills with water and the cost of reopening is extravagant. I believe that part of South Crofty had to close after the 1947 fuel crisis. Because the pumps were stopped, flooding resulted and it was not economic to pump the water out.