HC Deb 01 January 1913 vol 46 cc362-3

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction existing among working-class mining students in Scotland regarding Rule 4 (a) (v) issued by the board for mining examinations, which provides that an applicant for a first-class colliery manager's certificate must produce the plan of a mine survey, in the production of which the purchase or hire of costly mining instruments is involved; and whether, in view of the fact that this rule is resulting in a decrease in the number of students presenting themselves for examination, he will consider the advisability of either abolishing the rule in question or altering it in such a way that the poverty of a student shall be no bar to examination?


The rule to which my hon. Friend refers was made with my approval by the Board for Mining Examinations, on which, as he is aware, the working miners are fully represented. I am advised that the rule, which was already in force in some districts under the old system, is very necessary to ensure that a mine manager is possessed of the practical knowledge and draughtsmanship required for the keeping of proper colliery plans. The manager is responsible under the Act for the plans being accurate and up to date, and he is also regarded as qualified to act himself as surveyor, subject to his having had some actual experience of the work. The need for a higher standard of surveying was strongly emphasised by the Royal Commission on Mines. I am informed that it is a common practice for managers to allow intending candidates the facilities and use of the necessary instruments for carrying out a survey for the purpose of their examination, and no representations have reached me which would lead me to suppose that any serious difficulty is likely to arise in this respect. In any case I have no power of my own motion to alter the rule, and, if such difficulties have arisen, I suggest that my hon. Friend should get them brought to the notice of the Board, with whom the consideration of the matter will rest in the first instance.