6 DECEMBER 1919, Page 2

Sir Auckland Geddes in replying to his critics maintained that

the Coal Controller's estimate of the output for the current year from July had been confirmed by experience. There was no reason to hope for an output exceeding 217 million tons. What he had not foreseen was the rise in the price of exported coal, owing to the American coal strike. He expected a net profit of £17,000,000 for the financial year ending with March next, and he proposed to anticipate this potential surplus by reducing the price of household coal so as to lower the cost of living. He left it to be inferred that in the event of a miners' strike the surplus would prove a mirage. An independent firm of accountants, he !said, was examining the Coal Controller's estimates of output and profit. There is something in Sir Auckland Geddes's complaint that the Coal Controller is attacked from opposite directions by the well-organized miners and coal- ovraers. But the Coal Controller would not lack public support against the vested interests if the Government would allow him to pursue a firm and coherent policy.'