HC Deb 06 April 1937 vol 322 cc3-4
4. Sir Patrick Hannon

asked the Secretary for Mines whether his attention has been called to the recent complaint lodged by the electric supply committee of the Birmingham City Council before the Cannock Chase district committee of investigation, under Section 5 of the Coal Mines Act, 1930, consequent upon delay in deliveries of coal for the purposes of the undertaking; whether he has had under consideration the findings of the committee of investigation; and, if he has found that to give effect to the findings of the committee would be ultra vires the Coal Mines Act, 1930, whether he proposes to introduce legislation so that recommendations of this nature shall be given effect?

Captain Crookshank

Yes, Sir. Although it rejected the complaints of the council, the committee of investigation reported to me that, provided it was intra vires the Coal Mines Act, 1930, the Cannock Chase Scheme should he amended to provide that it should be a term of a permit for the supply and sale of coal that any contracts entered into by a coal owner in accordance therewith should be carried out as far as is reasonably and commercially practicable. I am advised that such a provision would be ultra vires the Act, but I do not propose to introduce legislation to give effect to this report.

Sir P. Hannon

Does my hon. and gallant Friend realise the inconvenience inflicted on the Birmingham electricity supply because this recommendation cannot be carried out, and will he consider sympathetically for our great city taking steps to bring in legislation to remedy this sort of thing?

Captain Crookshank

I am sure anything to do with Birmingham will always have our sympathy. Of course, it is a general proposition that, if a coalowner is in arrear with his contract deliveries, the other party to the contract has a legal remedy.

Sir Joseph Lamb

Is my hon. and gallant Friend aware that this does not affect Birmingham only, but North Staffordshire as well?

Captain Crookshank

My answer affects everyone, too.