The cost of coal

Simpson, David (1984) The cost of coal. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 9 (4). pp. 63-65. ISSN 0306-7866

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The organisation and finances of the National Coal Board as depicted in the recent report of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission makes devastating reading. The unemotional tone of the report lays bare a tale of mismanagement and incompetence. A comparison with the Soviet Union is suggested by the fact that the industry has apparently been run since nationalisation in 1947 like an industry in a planned economy, i.e with physical performance rather than financial indicators. As a consequence of the way in which the industry has been run, it has become a huge drain on the resources of the rest of society. This economic perspective considers all the costs of the Coal Board's mismanagement.