HC Deb 19 January 1937 vol 319 cc5-6
30. Mr. J. Griffiths

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the number of applications for certificates of disablement received by the medical board under the Various Industries (Silicosis) Schemes from among coal-miners in South Wales in the year ended 31st December, 1936; the number of certificates granted; the number of applications rejected; and the number of applications and certificates granted to anthracite miners in South Wales in the same period?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)

The number of applications for certificates of disablement from coalminers in South Wales during the year was 552. Certificates were granted in 268 cases and refused in 253 cases. Three hundred and eleven of the applications were from anthracite miners of whom 182 were certified and 115 refused.

Mr. Griffiths

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these men who have been refused certificates are all disabled, in consequence of having inhaled dust in the course of their occupation; and when do the Government propose to bring forward legislation to do elementary justice in the cases of men who lay down their lives in this industry?

Mr. Lloyd

The fact that a man has not been certified under this procedure does not necessarily prove that he is suffering from an occupational form of respiratory disease. He may be suffering from a form of respiratory disease which is not due to his occupation.

Mr. G. Griffiths

When may we expect the report of the committee which was appointed to go into this business some two years ago?

Mr. Lloyd

The Industrial Pulmonary Diseases Committee of the Medical Research Council recently held a meeting. They decided, in the first instance, that they must come to a conclusion about the clinical entity of diseases other than silicosis from which miners suffer and they have arranged for clinical and radiological tests in a selected number of cases of miners showing symptoms of those diseases.

Mr. J. Griffiths

In view of the fact that, whatever may be the precise nature or name of the disease from which the men suffer, it is universally agreed that it is due to their occupation, will the hon. Gentleman consider whether the Order cannot be widened so as to include them?

Mr. Lloyd

I am sorry, but I am afraid the hon. Gentleman is pre-judging the results of the scientific and medical investigation to which I have referred.

Mr. Leach

Is the hon. Gentleman himself satisfied as to the justice of such an enormous number of refusals?