National Coal Board (Non-Colliery Assets)

Oral Answers to Questions — Coal – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th May 1965.

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Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington 12:00 am, 25th May 1965

asked the Minister of Power what are the productive activities of the National Coal Board, other than coal production; and what is their total valuation.

Photo of Mr Frederick Lee Mr Frederick Lee , Newton

The main activities outside coal production comprise carbonisation, fuel processing, brickworks, workshops and housing. These and certain other non-colliery assets stood in the Board's 1963–64 Accounts at about £150 million.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Will my right hon. Friend say which of these non-mining productive industries are profitable?

Photo of Mr Frederick Lee Mr Frederick Lee , Newton

I imagine that the Coal Board's large brick production is profitable. [Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite do not have a monopoly in dropping bricks. The Board is seeking to diversify activities a great deal more and we will do what we can to assist it there.

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Does the right hon. Gentleman really say that he does not know how much of an investment of £150 million is or is not profitable? Is not that an extraordinary admission for him to make?

Photo of Mr Frederick Lee Mr Frederick Lee , Newton

Not in the very least. I was saying that practically all of it was profitable, and I was trying to tell my hon. Friend which parts of it were even more profitable than others.

Photo of Captain Walter Elliot Captain Walter Elliot , Carshalton

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what is the return on that capital of £150 million?

Photo of Mr Frederick Lee Mr Frederick Lee , Newton

Not without notice.