asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give the number of tons consumed by coal-fired power stations over each of the past five years; what is the estimated consumption in 1980; and if he will give the comparable figures for oil-fired power stations over the same period.
Statistics on coal and oil used in public supply power stations are published by my Department in the "United Kingdom Energy Statistics". I will, with permission, publish these figures in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Corresponding figures for 1980 are not available.
Does my hon. Friend agree that if we are to have a viable coalmining industry it is essential to ensure that we make the most efficient use of the oil under the North Sea? Furthermore, does he not agree that it would be a waste of oil to burn it only in power stations? Therefore, will he now commission new coal-fired power stations to ensure that the mining industry can look forward to the future? What is he doing to ensure that young people will come into the mining industry to make certain that we can maintain sufficient people in the industry to produce the coal that is required?
I am sure my hon. Friend will be aware that there has been some contraction in the number of new entrants into the mining industry. Second, he will be aware that my right hon. Friend has announced the new coal-fired power station, Drax B. Third, I am sure the House will agree that when one has a proper energy policy—it has been said by many people that the minority Labour Government came nearer to an energy policy in 30 weeks than any Government have come in the last 30 years—it means giving all fuels their proper place in relation to energy requirements and fuel economies.