Coal Industry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th October 1961.

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Photo of Mr Donald Box Mr Donald Box , Cardiff North 12:00 am, 24th October 1961

I agree with the hon. Lady that those remarks are quoted lower down in the report from which I quoted. I do not think I am creating a crisis of confidence by quoting those remarks and the original remarks by the Parliamentary Secretary which do not tie up.

There was also disclosed in the debate in July a decision to rephrase—that was the expression used by the Parliamentary Secretary; I called it a "slash"—the target output of Cynheidre from 1 million tons on a certain date to just about half that figure. But this decision was taken early in 1960. This is presumably an important and vital decision, and I think that we might reasonably have expected some reference to it in the Report under review today. This sort of omission only leads to suspicion that other similar rephasing has gone on in respect of other projects both in the south-western area and elsewhere.

It therefore seems to me that the public relations of the Coal Board leave much to be desired. What has the Board got to hide? Why does not the Board "come clean" on this question of national expenditure? If it did, I am quite sure that it would earn far more respect and sympathy from the general public for the difficult job that it has to do.