HC Deb 29 August 1887 vol 320 cc257-8
MR. D. CRAWFORD (Lanark, N.E.)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether a complaint was recently made to him on behalf of the checkweighman and miners at Craighead Colliery, in Lanarkshire, that they suspected the weighing machines at the colliery to be incorrect, and that they had unsuccessfully applied to have them tested by the Local Inspector; whether, in consequence of this complaint, an inspection was ordered which took place on the 21st and 23rd July last; whether three weighing machines were examined and were all found to be incorrect, two of them greatly against the workmen; whether the Chief Constable thereupon lodged an information against the proprietors with the Procurator Fiscal; whether the Procurator Fiscal has taken steps for a prosecution; whether, in this and similar cases in which an inspection takes place at the request of the workmen, he will direct that access to the official Report of the inspection be given to the checkweighman, or some other person representing the workmen; whether an inspection of the weighing machines at the same colliery took place in January or February last showing similar results; whether the Procurator Fiscal then declined to prosecute; and, if so, on what grounds?


I am informed by the Board of Trade that an inspection of three machines was made on the dates given. Each machine was found to be incorrect, two giving results greatly against the workmen, and one in their favour. The Chief Constable lodged an information as stated. I am now making an inquiry of the Fiscal as to the steps he has taken, and, if he did not institute a prosecution, as to his reasons. An official Report is not generally made by the Inspector unless proceed- ings may have been taken, or unless Local Authorities require a special Report. In either case the official Report is made to the Local Authority, who appoints the Inspector; and neither the Secretary of State nor the Board of Trade has power, under the Weights and Measures Act, to direct access to these Reports. The Board of Trade has no information as to any previous inspection of the weighing machines at this colliery in January or February last. At present, I have only received a telegram from the Fiscal, which throws no light on the matter.