§ 4. Mr. W. THORNE
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Non-Ferrous Metals Act gives any power to regulate metal imports in such a way as to prevent the constant degradation of the standard of living of Cornish tin 855 miners and other classes of British nonferrous metal miners; can he state the present rates of wages paid to Chinese and other coolies in the tin mines of the Straits Settlements; is he aware that the average wage of the Cornish tin miner is only £8 or £9 per month, and that his earnings, despite skill, training, and ability, are considerably less than those of London dustmen and street. sweepers; and can he state the amount annually of the present production of tin in Cornwall and the total number of men at present employed in the industry, both underground and in and about?
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Bridge-man)
The Non-Ferrous Metal Industry Act, 1918, to which the hon. Member apparently refers, does not give any power to regulate metal imports. I am informed that the present rates of pay in tin fields of the Straits Settlements are approxmately 2s. a day for unskilled labour and 5s. a day for skilled labour, and I understand that the average wage of the Cornish tin miner is approximately as stated in the question. At the present time the production of tin in Cornwall is at the rate of approximately 4,000 tons a year, and the total number of men employed is about 5,000.