HC Deb 01 June 1937 vol 324 cc830-2
11 and 12. Mr. Gallacher

asked the Secretary for Mines (1) whether he is aware that three years ago the Valley-field miners voted almost unanimously for pit-head baths; that while the coal in Valleyfield Colliery is high quality coal it is accompanied by a very high percentage of dust; that often the men cannot see beyond two yards; that they must carry dust and soot into their homes where there is not adequate water supply to remove it; and, in view of the fact that the National Welfare Committee is still unable to make an installation at this pit, where one is so urgently needed, will he take steps to arrange a loan to the National Welfare Committee so that all pits still requiring baths can he attended to;

(2) whether his attention has been called to a finding of the Lochore branch of the Fife miners union calling attention to the urgent need of baths at all Fife pits; the apparent neglect of the claim of the Mary pit at Lochore; and will he take up the matter with the National Welfare Committee with a view to immediate installation at all pits where applications have been made?

Captain Crookshank

I am aware generally of the facts referred to in the questions. I understand from the Miners' Welfare Committee that applications for pit-head baths have been received from a number of collieries in the coal district of Fife and Clackmannan, including Valleyfield Colliery and Mary Colliery, Lochore, and that, in accordance with the usual practice, the Committee are dealing with these applications in the order recommended by the Fife District Committee, upon which owners and workmen are equally represented. The building of baths is being greatly expedited by the arrangements explained in my reply to the hon. Member's question on 6th April, and at the moment, at any rate, I do not think that any more rapid progress is practicable, though I shall keep in close touch with the Miners' Welfare Committee in the matter.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that these pits are among the worst in the country from the point of view of dust, and that the district committee is limited in its recommendations to one or two pits, though it would gladly recommend them all if the money was there, and will he not arrange for a loan, which will ensure that all pits will get baths without loss of time?

Captain Crookshank

If the hon. Memcarefully studies my reply he will see that that point is dealt with.

Mr. Paling

Is the rate of progress for building these baths kept up to what was laid down a year or two ago and is the very much increased cost of building material having any bad effect on the rate?

Captain Crookshank

I should likenotice of the latter point but, as regards the first, it has been greatly expedited on what was laid down a year or two ago.

Mr. George Griffiths

Will not the hon. and gallant Gentleman consult the Cabinet as to raising a penny rate? We do not want loans.

13. Mr. James Griffiths

asked the Secretary for Mines the number of pithead baths to be provided by the Miners' Welfare Fund Committee in 1937; what is the number of baths to be provided for South Wales; whether, in deciding upon the collieries to be provided with baths, the committee gives any preference to collieries with a high incidence of silicosis; and, if not, will he make representations to the committee with that end in view?

Captain Crookshank

The number of pit-head bath installations that can be provided naturally depends upon their size and cost, but the Miners' Welfare Committee has planned to undertake about four a month this year for the whole country. I understand that the 1937 programme includes five installations in South Wales, of which four happen to be in the anthracite area. As regards the third and fourth parts of the question, I understand that in deciding upon the collieries to be provided with baths, the Miners' Welfare Committee is advised by the district committees. I cannot say whether the South Wales committee gives preference to collieries with a high incidence of silicosis, but I will be pleased to pass on any representations which the hon. Member desires to make on the subject.

Mr. Griffiths

Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman think a rate of progress which provides only five baths in one complete year satisfactory, and will he not expedite it and personally recommend to the Central Welfare Committee that collieries which have a high incidence of silicosis should be given preference?

Captain Crookshank

If I were to do that perhaps the hon. Gentleman will give me the reasons he wishes put forward.

Mr. Griffiths

I will do that, but I thought the reasons had been brought to his attention by the Inspector of Mines.

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