§ 1. Mr. SITCH
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will state whether the inquiry into the Hawne colliery pumping station, in the South Staffordshire area, promised before the Recess, has yet been held; and, if not, can he see his way to arrange for such inquiry to be insti- 478 tuted at an early date, having regard to the increased seriousness of the flooding in the districts concerned?
§ 22. Mr. GEORGE THORNE
asked whether he can state the names of the committee appointed to inquire into mines drainage in the South Staffordshire coalfields; whether he can announce what are the terms of reference to the committee and what area will be included within the scope of the committee's investigation; and whether he can say when the committee will commence its sittings?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. Bridgeman)
A committee of enquiry has been appointed, consisting of Sir Richard Redmayne, K.C.B. (Chairman), Mr. Maurice Deacon, M.J.C.E., and my right hon. Friend the Member for Abertillery (Mr. Brace), with the following terms of reference:—To enquire into the present position in regard to mines drainage in the South Staffordshire coalfield and advise as to the steps to be taken to ensure the future security of the mines and the proper industrial development of the district on an economic basis.The area which will fall within the scope of the Committee's investigations will be that portion of the South Staffordshire coalfield which lies to the south of the Bentley fault. The preliminary work of collecting information is now in progress, and I understand that the Committee hope to begin their sittings early in March.
§ 2. Mr. SITCH
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that numbers of the inhabitants of all classes in the Cradley Heath, Old Hill, and Quarry Bank districts of Staffordshire have been unable to procure supplies of domestic coal for some weeks past, to their discomfort and hardship; and whether he will order an immediate inquiry into the matter with the view to ensuring speedy improvement in the supply of this essential fuel?
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
The shortage of supplies of domestic coal in the Cradley Heath Old Hill and Quarry Bank disricts in Staffordshire is due to the flooding of the local coal mines from which these districts draw their supplies. All possible steps are being taken to obtain supplies from other sources.