HC Deb 19 February 1904 vol 130 cc445-7
MR. MARKHAM (Nottinghamshire, Mansfield)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the fact that 4,000 Polish Jews are working in the coal mines of Great Britain, most of whom cannot speak English, and of the danger involved thereby to the safety of the lives of British miners, he proposes to take any steps to prevent these aliens working in British coal mines.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas.) My information differs somewhat from that of the hon. Member. This matter has engaged the attention of the Home Office for some years. Careful inquiry has been made from time to time by the Mines Inspectors for Scotland, where the bulk of the foreigners are employed—some 1,200 out of a total for the whole country of less than 2,000—and there is no evidence before me to show that these men are a cause of danger to the other miners employed in the same mines. I have satisfied myself that adequate steps are taken at the mines where they are employed, to instruct them in their duties. The matter will continue to be watched by the inspectors; but on the information before me I am not prepared to take the steps suggested by the hon. Member.


To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will grant the Return relative to Underground Mines (Great Britain) (Foreigners Employed), standing on to-day's Paper.†

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas.) According to the information supplied to me by the inspectors of mines, the employment of foreigners is confined to a few of the inspection districts, and the numbers employed are approximately as follows: in the two Scottish districts 1,600 Poles and a few Germans; in English districts, some ninety Italians and seventy Poles, Germans, and men of other nationalities. A special Return, the †Underground Mines (Great Britain) (Foreigners Employed)—Address for Return stating the number of Foreigners and their nationality working in the Underground Mines in Great Britain. collection of which would involve a considerable amount of work, and which could not be relied on for complete accuracy, as there is no obligation to keep records on this point, appears in the circumstances to be unnecessary.