HC Deb 20 June 1935 vol 303 cc527-9

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he will consider taking administrative steps to ensure the complete inspection of every mine at least once in every 12 months, in addition to the inspections of the place of accident required by the Coal Mines Acts; and whether a general report of every such mine can be inserted in the annual report of His Majesty's divisional inspectors?


The complete inspection of mines is already carried out systematically; and, during last year, 1,301 mines out of a total of 2,123 were inspected throughout in every part. That number includes many of the smaller mines and to inspect every mine in that way every year, in addition to the frequent inspections by sample and to other inspection duties which it is important fully to maintain would involve a substantial increase in the strength of the inspectorate. I should not feel justified in proposing a further increase without full inquiry. I do not think it would be practicable to adopt the suggestion in the last part of the question.


In view of the figures given, which show that just more than half of the mines are given a complete inspection once in every 12 months, does the Minister not think that an additional inspector is fully justified?


It is a good deal more than half, 1,300 out of 2,100. The hon. Gentleman is, of course, aware that the matter is under discussion with the Miners' Federation, and I am giving my close attention to it.


Will the Minister use his influence with the coalowners, who refuse to stop a levy that the workmen are prepared to have stopped, whereby their own inspectors can inspect the mines? Give us an answer, will you?


I do not think that question arises from the question on the Paper.


asked the Secretary for Mines whether he will state the number of inspectors of the various grades now employed by the department; whether it is proposed to appoint additional inspectors; and whether steps are being taken to ensure that the persons appointed shall have a thorough practical experience in addition to the academic qualifications for the duties they are to perform?


The number of inspectors now employed by the Department is 108, made up as follows:

Headquarters 6
Divisional Inspectors 8
Senior Inspectors 14
Junior Inspectors (including 3 Junior Electrical Inspectors) 34
Sub-Inspectors of Mines 30
Sub-Inspectors of Quarries 8
Horse Inspectors 8

There are three vacancies in the authorised establishment of Sub-Inspectors of Mines and steps are now being taken to fill these vacancies; the total will then be 111. The answer to the last part of the question is that practical experience has always been an essential qualification for appointment to the Mines Inspectorate.