33. Mr. FREDERICK HALL
asked the Secretary for Mines how many men holding first and second-class certificates of competency under the Coal Mines Act are employed in mines on manual work; how many men are acting as firemen or deputies; and how many men holding firemen's certificates only are employed as officials intermediate between the under-manager and the firemen, giving the numbers for Scotland separately?
The only information available relates to the year 1921, and it is only approximate. In that year there were about 850 men holding first or second-class certificates (including 180 in Scotland) who were employed below ground otherwise than as managers, under-managers, overmen or firemen. About 1,100 men holding first or second-class certificates (including 160 in Scotland) were employed as firemen. The number of overmen holding firemen's certificates only was about 2.400, including 360 in Scotland.
§ Mr. LUNN
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, although there are hundreds of practical working miners holding first and second-class certificates of competency, they can never become managers or officials by reason of the Government's policy under Section 22 of the Mining Industry Act of last year.
§ 34. Mr. ALLEN PARKINSON
asked the Secretary for Mines the amount of money spent per annum from funds provided by the State, local authorities, and the miners' welfare fund, in promoting education devised to enable young miners to qualify themselves for first and second-class certificates of competency under the Coal Mines Act, and the number of students availing themselves of the opportunities provided?
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of EDUCATION (The Duchess of Atholl)
My right hon. Friend has been asked to reply to this question. The Miners' Welfare Committee have set aside, for the purpose of improving the accommodation and equipment for higher education in mining, a sum of £750,000, to be expended over a period of several years. As regards the provision made by local authorities and aided by my Department, it would not be possible, without special inquiries and the expenditure of a disproportionate amount of time and labour, to supply the statistical information desired. The hon. Member may, however, take it that provision for the technical instruction of young miners is made in practically all the coalfields of England and Wales.
May I ask the Noble Lady if she is aware of the fact that in Durham County very few miners can manage to attend these classes because of the hours they are called upon to work, and is she also aware that the classes are being ruined?
§ Mr. PALING
Would it be possible without great expense to reply to the last part of the question as to the number of students availing themselves of the opportunities provided?
Duchess of ATHOLL
I will endeavour to ascertain if the figures can be 1556 obtained, but, as the answer I have given indicates, it is difficult to get any figures on this question which are really complete.