HC Deb 30 July 1906 vol 162 cc462-3
MR. RAPHAEL (Derbyshire, S.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the promised inquiry into the question of an eight hours' day for minors will be told; the nature of the body to whom the inquiry will be entrusted; and the names of those who will conduct the inquiry.


I have, in accordance with the promise I gave during the debate on the Second Reading of the Mines (Eight Hours) Bill on May 11th, appointed a Departmental Committee to inquire into the probable economic effect of such a limitation to the hours of labour. My hon. friend the Member for Gloucester has, I am glad to say, consented to be chairman, and the members of the Committee are Sir Andrew Agnew, Mr. Cox, Professor of Mining at the Royal College of Science, my hon. friend the Member for Kincardine, Sir Robert Giffen, Lord Glantawe, and Mr. Redmayne, Professor of Mining at Birmingham University. The Committee will, no doubt begin their inquiry after the holidays.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give the terms of reference?


Yes, they are as follows:—To inquire into the probable economic effect of a limit of eight hours to the working day of coal miners, both when calculated from bank to bank, and when otherwise calculated, upon (1) production; (2) wages; (3) employment; (4) the export trade; (5) other British industries which might be affected thereby: regard being had to the different conditions obtaining in different districts, seams and collieries; and also into the probable effect of such a limit upon the health of the minors, and, if they think necessary, to extend their inquiry to metalliferous mines.

MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)

asked whether anyone representing the working miners had been appointed, and, if not, whether it was intended to include such a representative.


No. I consulted with some of my hon. friends, and it was settled that this being an inquiry of an economic nature the out-and-out advocates or opponents of the eight-hours system should not be on the Committee, but that the inquiry should be limited to the economic aspect of the question.