HC Deb 05 April 1933 vol 276 cc1755-6
21. Captain SPENCER

asked the Secretary for Mines whether any decision has been reached in regard to the recommendations of the Departmental Committee of Inquiry into the Miners' Welfare Fund?

The SECRETARY for MINES (Mr. Ernest Brown)

Yes, Sir. The Government have decided to accept the committee's recommendation that the amount of the levy should be reduced from one penny per ton to one halfpenny, and its duration extended for a period of 20 years. The necessary Bill will be introduced as soon as the state of Parliamentary business permits. My hon. Friend will be aware that the committee recommend that the reduction in the amount of the levy should take effect at once, that is to say, in respect of the levy on the output of 1932. Under the existing law, however, this levy is due and payable on or before the 31st March, and it is clearly necessary that the law shall be complied with. The Government will be prepared, however, to consider, in connection with the amending Bill, how far practical effect can be given to the committee's recommendation regarding the 1932 output levy. The other recommendations of the committee, apart from that relating to the amount of the levy, are still under consideration.


Will the hon. Gentleman say whether the penny that is now being paid will cover 1932 and 1933?


The actual provision to be made will require careful consideration, and I am unable to commit myself at the present time. The suggestion of the hon. Member is the sort of arrangement that I have in mind.


Is the Secretary for Mines aware that the Miners' Federation, representing those who pay the bulk of the contributions, ask for the full amount to be paid?


I am aware of that fact, and I am also aware that the Mining Association desire larger cuts still.


Will the Minister consider the fact that the mine-workers contribute at least 85 per cent. of the contributions to the Welfare Fund, and will he also consider the representations that have been made by the Miners' Federation?


This and other questions were taken into account when it was decided by the Labour Government that there are problems to be solved in connection with this account.