6. Mrs. WARD
asked the Secretary for Mines whether any advantages to the miners in wages and employment, to the coal industry in enhanced prosperity, and 624 to the public in cheaper fuel, are anticipated from the proposed amalgamation schemes of the Coal Mines Re-organisation Commission?
§ Mr. E. BROWN
I would remind the hon. Lady that under the provisions of the Coal Mines Act, 1930, under which the Coal Mines Reorganisation Commission was set up, the commission is required in the first instance to satisfy itself, in regard to a proposed amalgamation scheme, that it is expedient for the purposes of promoting the more economical and efficient working, treating or disposing of coal. Furthermore, under the provisions of the same Act, the Railway and Canal Commission cannot confirm such a scheme unless it is satisfied that it would be in the national interest to do so, and that it will result in lowering the cost of production or disposal of coal. With regard to wages and employment, I have at present no information at all that would enable me to express an opinion.
§ Captain PETER MACDONALD
Can the hon. Gentleman say in how many cases in which amalgamation has already been carried out these conditions have been fulfilled?
§ Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that although he has told us a good deal about the provisions of the Coal Mines Act he has not answered the question on the Paper?