§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ The SECRETARY for MINES (Colonel Lane-Fox)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
This is a subject on which all sections of the industry are fully agreed, in which there is whole-hearted co-operation, and about which there can be no serious conflict whatever. The object of the Bill is to continue the Miners' Welfare Fund, which was set up under the Mining Industry Act, 1920, as one of the recom- 192 mendations of the Sankey Commission. The fund is created by the levy on the colliery owners of one penny per ton on all coal raised, and the purposes for which it is to be used are connected with recreation for workers in and about coal mines, for education, and for research. Under the Bill, we propose to increase the Committee which administers the fund by two, so as to give one more representative to the miners, and one more to the owners, giving the industry a majority on the Committee. They ask for this, and it is one of the objects of the Bill. Four-fifths are administered by district committees, who set up schemes, which are then submitted to the Central Committee.
I do not think the House, at this moment, will require details of the sums expended, or how they have been expended, but I shall be glad to give them if they are wanted. I think it is within the knowledge of all those who have had anything to do with this Department, under the chairmanship of Lord Chelmsford, who has shown the greatest sympathy with the movement since its inception, and who has endeared himself to the whole of the mining industry by the work he has put in. that this Department has been run very successfully without any serious difference of opinion. In matters of detail, there may be some slight difference, which can come up in the Committee stage of the Bill, but I suggest that a Bill which proposes to continue, as this Bill does, the fund for another term of five years, and to make the changes I have mentioned in the Committee, is one which will meet with the generous support of the House.
§ Mr. LUNN
I think I can say, on behalf of Members on this side of the House, that we welcome this Bill, and that we give it our support. It is the only thing that we have got left out of the Sankey Commission, and its most admirable Report. We should have liked to have got a good deal more. There are many things in the Report that we should like to have besides the extension of the Welfare Fund for another five years. The work that has been done through this Welfare Fund is admirably appreciated in every mining district, and we want to see a further extension of the good work, and a continuance of it; and when the Government come to the conclusion that they will bring forward some other 193 Measure, to use the profits made in the industry to benefit not only the miners but the community, they will have our ready support.
§ Sir BEDDOE REES
We have watched the operations of this Fund, and whatever may be said as to the Sankey Fund we certainly approve of the payments out of the Fund, and its use for the benefits of the miners. On the owners' side we have watched the development of the Fund, and seen its administration— [HON. MEMBERS: "Agreed!"]—and we are in agreement with it.
§ Question, "That the Bill be now read a Second time," put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a Second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.