HC Deb 01 December 1930 vol 245 cc1801-2

asked the Secretary for Mines if he is aware that co-operative societies have been refused representation on the district investigation committees set up under the Coal Mines Act, 1930; and if he will take steps to grant such representation in the interests of co-operators?


The Coal Mines Act, 1930, provides for only two consumers' representatives on each district committee of investigation. In most districts one of these must obviously represent the industrial, and the other the domestic consumer. It is also clear that neither consumers' representative should have any interest, direct or indirect, in the coal industry. The considerations submitted by the Parliamentary Committee of the Co-operative Congress with regard to this matter were carefully weighed, but, as in the great majority of cases co-operative societies act as distributors of coal, I have found it impossible to allow them exclusive representation on district committees. The National Committee of Investigation is, however, of a wider and more general character, and I have appointed a member of the Central Board of the Co-operative Union as one of the consumers' representatives on that. Committee.


Does the hon. Gentleman think that on the original Committee, seeing that there is no direct representative of the consumers, but that there is a representative of the Trade Union Congress, sufficient weight will be given to the needs of the consumers?


My hon. Friend is quite misinformed about the composition of the Central Committee. There are two domestic consumers' representatives on the Central Committee, and their names have already been published.