62. Marquess of HARTINGTON
asked the Secretary for Mines how much the Coal Mines Reorganisation Commission has cost since its inauguration; and how 294 many collieries have been amalgamated as a result of its efforts?
The SECRETARY for MINES (Captain Crookshank)
The cost of the Coal Mines Reorganisation Commission from the date of its inauguration to 30th September, 1935, amounted to £123,150. This figure includes £32,583 in respect of fees and expenses paid to professional and technical agents, which in certain circumstances are recoverable under the provisions of Section 12 (3) of the Coal Mines Act, 1930. No recoveries have been made to date. With regard to the second part of the question, since the formation of the Commission amalgamations involving 228 pits have been effected, but I am unable to state how many of these are due directly or indirectly to the activities of the Commission.
Marquess of HARTINGTON
May I ask whether, if my hon. and gallant Friend must spread despondency and alarm among the coalfields, he cannot find some cheaper way of doing it?
§ Mr. PALING
Is it not a fact that in one case at least, where the Commission made a recommendation and the majority of coalowners were in favour, it was turned down owing to the action of a minority; and does the Minister propose to give more power so that where a majority of the coalowners and the Commission are agreed the recommendation will be carried out?