HC Deb 02 February 1932 vol 261 cc7-8

asked the Secretary for Mines what steps he proposes to take with a view to facilitating the disposal of the present excessive stocks of small coal which have accumulated as a result of the working of the Coal Mines Act, 1930?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Mr. Isaac Foot)

This is a matter with which the executive boards of coalowners administering the schemes under Part I of the Act are competent to deal. I have no powers to take any action. It must not be assumed that I accept the suggestion of the hon. and gallant Member that the difficulty arising owing to the accumulation of stocks of small coal is necessarily the result of the operation of the Coal Mines Act, 1930.

29. Colonel BROWN

asked the Prime Minister whether it is the intention of the Government to repeal or amend the Coal Mines Act, 1930?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald)

My hon. Friend the Secretary for Mines informed my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Remer) on the 10th December last that he was asking the coal industry organisations for their views on the effect of the Coal Mines Act, 1930. On that date the Mining Association, the Miners' Federation, the British Coal Exporters' Federation, the Coal Merchants' Federation and the National Council of Coal Traders were asked to give their views on the operation of Part I of the Act. None of these organisations has yet replied and I understand that they will not do so for some weeks. It is clearly impossible for the Government to reach a decision on this subject until these replies have been received and considered.

Colonel BROWN

Is it not possible for the Secretary for Mines himself to hurry up those answers, seeing that the matter is becoming more urgent?


I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that the Secretary for Mines is doing everything he can to hurry up the reply to those questions.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that neither the mine-owners nor the mineworkers seek a repeal of the 1930 Act, but that in both cases they are anxious for an amending Measure so as to get district marketing schemes instead of the selling which is going on to-day?


That will be dealt with in the replies.


Will the right hon. Gentleman give us an assurange that when he has got the opinion of the parties concerned he will then take the opinion of the general public on this matter?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a demand in Northumberland and Durham and other coal exporting centres for an inquiry into the working of Part I of the Coal Mines Act?


I know a little about Durham, and no such representation has been made to me.


Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that at least 11 of the districts produced less than the allocated quota during the past quarter?