HC Deb 21 January 1924 vol 169 cc517-8
43. Mr. BARKER

asked the Under-Secretary for Labour if he is aware that the profits in the coal-mining industry for 1923 are upwards of £20,000,000; that the number of miners unemployed is upwards of 30,000; and will he urge the mineowners, through the agency of the Mines Department, to develop the industry and find employment for these unemployed men, and thereby relieve the rates and taxes of the people?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Lieut.-Colonel Lane-Fox)

I have been asked to reply. The mineowers require no exhortation from the Government to develop their industry to the fullest extent that they see the opportunity of doing. I would also remind the hon. Member that the number of persons now employed in the industry is at least 80,000 more than in any period before the War, and that the increase, generally speaking, has been constantly progressing since the latter half of 1921.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are coal-owners who do not know the extent of unemployment in this industry and who complain that they cannot get miners? Will he say what steps are taken by the Ministry to bring to the notice of coal-owners the extent of unemployment in the industry?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

There is certainly more unemployment in the mining industry than we like to see, but still the figures compare very favourably with those of other industries.


Are no steps taken to bring these facts to the knowledge of the coalowners?


Can the hon. Gentleman tell us why it is that the iron-ore field at Muirkirk is not being developed as it should be in view of the fact that we are importing from other countries?

Lieut.-Colonel LANE-FOX

I think that has no relation at all to the question on the Paper. These facts are constantly being brought to the notice of all the parties concerned.