National Coal Board (Profits and Losses)

Oral Answers to Questions — Coal – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th February 1962.

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Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Kidderminster 12:00 am, 26th February 1962

asked the Minister of Power whether he will state the cumulative loss forward of the National Coal Board to 31st December, 1961; what estimate he has made of profits or losses for 1962; what borrowings have been made by the Board under the December, 1961, Act; and whether he will now make a statement on the National Coal Board's finances.

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

The final accounts for 1961 are not yet available, and I cannot therefore give precise figures. The cumulative deficit is rather more than £90 million and the advances made towards it under the 1961 Act something over £30 million. With regard to 1962 and future years, I am at present reviewing with the Board its financial position and prospects, and I have promised to make an announcement when that review is complete.

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Kidderminster

Why is my right hon. Friend a different kind of creature from the Minister of Transport? Is he not aware that, in the context of the railways, the Minister of Transport gave me the estimated loss forward up to approximately the date of the Budget? How does my right hon. Friend expect me to support the Chancellor's economic policies if he cannot tell the House of Commons how much money this fledgeling industry, the National Coal Board, is likely to lose in the current financial year? Really, his is a preposterous reply.

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

I cannot comment on the essential differences between my right hon. Friend to myself, but, in fact, I always try to give my hon. Friend as much helpful information as I possibly can. I cannot tell him now what will be the precise financial position of the National Coal Board this year, but he will have seen certain statements from the Chairman of the National Coal Board which should give him a rough idea.

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Kidderminster

But does my right hon. Friend agree with those statements?

Photo of Mr Raymond Gunter Mr Raymond Gunter , Southwark

May I, through the Minister, congratulate the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) on being such a deft flatterer?

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

I do not think the Minister is responsible for such activities as that.

Photo of Mr Henry Hynd Mr Henry Hynd , Accrington

For the purpose of comparison, could the Minister give the House the amount of the subsidies paid to the private owners of coal before nationalisation?

Photo of Hon. Richard Wood Hon. Richard Wood , Bridlington

I think that would need another Question.

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Kidderminster

May I have the information before the Budget, Sir.