Oral Answers to Questions — Fuel Shortages

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1970.

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Photo of Mr Alexander Eadie Mr Alexander Eadie , Midlothian 12:00 am, 3rd December 1970

asked the Prime Minister if he will appoint a Minister with special responsibilities for dealing with likely fuel shortages this winter.

Photo of Mr Alexander Eadie Mr Alexander Eadie , Midlothian

Is the Prime Minister aware that the Government's actions are doing very little to remedy the coal shortage? Does he agree that the publication of the Coal Industry Bill, particularly Clauses 6 and 7, which is regarded by miners as provocative, will stimulate a crisis of confidence in the coal industry?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

A debate on Second Reading of the Coal Industry Bill to follow Question Time. All these matters can then be discussed.

Photo of Mr Thomas Swain Mr Thomas Swain , North East Derbyshire

Will the Prime Minister consider the proposal to set up a committee, with himself as chairman, and call the heads of the nationalised industries together—provided that he can find a room big enough for Lord Robens' head—to discuss the possibilities of a concerted fuel policy, not only for this winter but for next winter and the winter following, giving coal its rightful place in the fuel economy?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

We have set our face steadfastly against winter emergency committees.

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Worcestershire South

Will the Prime Minister bear in mind, in connection with winter fuel supplies, that deep-mined coal output fell by nine million tons in the 47 weeks to the third week of November, compared with the comparable period the year before, largely on account of industrial disputes? Is this not ample justification for the important Bill to be brought before the House this day?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I think that it is widely recognised that there was a shortage of coal and that this was aggravated by industrial disputes in the industry. Perhaps these matters had better be left to be debated later today.