§ Mr. Butler
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has any proposals to help to expand the private coal mining industry.
§ Mr. Michael Spicer
As I explained during the debate on the coalfield communities on 20 Novembe 1987 at columns 1362–3, the Government are committed to the development of a prosperous private sector for coal and are considering whether to raise the statutory limits applied to the licensed sector. If it was decided to present such proposals to the House, legislation would take time, and in the meantime I have been discussing with Sir Robert Haslam the scope for greater flexibility and transparency within existing legislation.