11. Lieut.-Colonel Sir F. HALL
asked the President of the Board of Trade what was the total amount of the subsidies paid to the coal trade during the five years to 31st March, 1921. which subsidies were necessitated principally by the large successive increases in wages granted to the colliery workers during that period?
§ The SECRETARY for MINES (Mr. Bridgeman)
The total amount of irrecoverable payments made to the coal mining industry during the five years ended 31st March, 1921, is approximately £14,250,000, and it is estimated that a further £2,000,000 will be required during the current year in respect of outstanding claims under the Coal Mines Control Agreement (Confirmation) Act, 1918.
§ Mr. R. RICHARDSON
Is it true that the whole of the deficit is due to the fact that cheap coal has been supplied to the people in this country?
§ Captain Viscount CURZON
Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that, may I ask, whether that is not exactly what the miners struck for on the last occasion ―so that the consumer might have cheaper coal?
§ Mr. ALLEN PARKINSON
Where do these subsidies come from? Do they come from the taxation of the country, or from the pool created by the mining industry itself?
Sir F. HALL
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he thinks it right or reason able that there should be a continuation of a subsidy for one specific industry?
§ Mr. J. H. THOMAS
Will the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the fact that both sides are meeting now and answers of this kind are not calculated to lead to peace?
Sir F. HALL
Is it necessary or advisable in the interests of the country that we should have these things considered in a hole and corner way? Let us know where we are.
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
May I say I have endeavoured in my answer to avoid saying anything which might prejudice the position.