§ Mr. Emery
A typical delivered price for general industrial coal in the United Kingdom is estimated to be about £9.30 a ton. Up-to-date information for the other countries is not readily available. Such limited information as is available suggests that prices for comparable coal are about 20 per cent. higher in France and about 50 per cent. higher in Germany and Belgium.
§ Mr. J. H. Osborn
asked the Minister for Energy what is now the pithead price of the main grades of coal produced in this country; what would be the average price and percentage increase if the National Coal Board were to meet its profit target, pay current interest rates on all loans, forgo all social, production and price subsidies and implement its latest offer to the National Union of Mineworkers; and how this would affect the price of coal to the domestic consumer.
§ Mr. Emery
The current average pithead prices for the main categories of NCB coal are as follows:
Power station coals 6.50 Coking coals 9.60 General Industry coals 7.60 Domestic coal Bituminous (all groups) 9.60 Naturally smokeless (all groups) 15.50
In view of the present situation in the industry it is impossible to say what price levels would enable the industry to break even on the conditions postulated, but in a normal year the NCB offer—£56 million, including a possible productivity deal—and the social and operational grants estimated for 1973–74—£155 million—alone represent average costs of £1.55 per ton on all coal. The price to the domestic consumer would of course reflect the merchants' margin as well as any increase the NCB might introduce.