HC Deb 16 March 1937 vol 321 cc1843-4
39. Colonel Ropner

asked the Secretary for Mines the number of pits in the coalfields of the United Kingdom which have been re-opened during each of the past two years, and the number of persons who have consequently gained employment in the coal industry?

Captain Crookshank

During the year 1st March, 1935, to 1st March, 1936, 41 pits, each employing 10 or more persons and now employing in the aggregate 16,883 wage-earners, were re-opened. The corresponding figures for the year 1st March, 1936, to 1st March, 1937, were 16 and 2,150.

Mr. Shinwell

Can the hon. and gallant Gentleman say how many pits have been closed down in the same period? and gallant Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Colonel Ropner

Can the Minister say now how the average weekly earnings for these two years, compare?

Captain Crookshank

Comparing 1936 with 1935 the average weekly increase is 6s. 7d.

Following is the reply:

Captain Crookshank

I dare say I could, if the question were put on the Paper.

Mr. Paling

Do not these figures give a wrong impression, and is it not the case that before you can say how many extra men have been employed, you must take into consideration the number of pits which have been closed?

Captain Crookshank

I am not responsible for the impressions drawn by hon. Members. All I was asked was the number of pits re-opened and that is the question which I have answered.