Mr. Andy Stewart
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he has set objectives for the chairman of the British Coal Corporation.507W
§ Mr. Wakeham
I have agreed objectives with Neil Clarke, chairman of the British Coal Corporation, as follows1. The overall objective of the Corporation must be to develop a coal mining business that achieves sustainable profitability. British Coal must of course operate within the financial framework set by Government, and notably the Corporation's external financing limit and the required rate of return of at least 8 per cent. in real terms on the Corporation's investment programme. Specific objectives should be:
- (i) to achieve a profit (after interest and tax) on a group basis over the period 1991–92 to 1993–94;
- (ii) to achieve in the deep mine sector over that period an overall operating profit while at least breaking even on operational cash flow, including operational capital expenditure;
- (iii) to withdraw from all presently loss making business where practicable except in cases where there is the realistic prospect of achieving sustained profitability in the foreseeable future;2. The Corporation should further review its policies on licensing both deep mines and opencast operations so as to enable the expansion of competitive private sector coal production.3. The Corporation should continue to develop policies to mitigate adverse environmental effects arising from its activities.4. The safety of all persons at British Coal workplaces must remain the Corporation's overriding concern. The safety objectives should be to aim for zero fatalities and progressively to reduce the reportable accident rate from that experienced in 1990–91.