§ 60. Mr. NUNN
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that persons engaged in the 516 coal mining industry are suffering hardship because the law governing workmen's compensation does not safeguard the permanency of disability payments; and whether he will take steps to secure continuity of payment of compensation to men suffering as the result of accidents and diseases contracted in connection with their work in and about collieries?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir John Gilmour)
I am only too familiar with the cases of hardship such as those mentioned and strenuous efforts have been made by my Department, in conjunction with the Mining Association, to develop the system of mutual insurance and to secure that in future every colliery undertaking will either be adequately insured or, if it is a large concern, will set aside adequate reserves to meet its liabilities. Arrangements have now been made in every coalfield for the insurance not only of fatal accidents but also permanent cases of injury. There are some collieries which have not yet brought themselves within the scope of these arrangements, but I am satisfied that coalowners generally are now realising their obligations in this matter. It will be understood, of course, that nothing can be done by way of insurance, whether on a compulsory basis or not, to prevent loss of compensation in those cases of men already injured for which coalowners have failed in the past to make adequate provision. I am, however, glad to say that during the last 18 months or so, although a considerable number of colliery liquidations have been reported, in practically every case no loss of compensation has been involved.
§ Mr. NUNN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in my constituency alone there are 200 men affected through a recent liquidation of a colliery and that the sum involved will probably amount to £30,000, and will be undertake to have a full investigation made into this and other aspects of the practical working of the compensation law in the mining industry?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
I am quite ready to consider any question to assist in finding a solution of this problem. I understand that in the case to which the hon. Gentleman refers the indemnity company are taking steps to make a complete cover of their members in the future.
§ Sir H. SAMUEL
Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many collieries are still refusing to participate, and what number of men are employed in these collieries?
§ Mr. GODFREY NICHOLSON
Will the right hon. Gentleman give his sympathetic consideration to private legislation on the subject?