HC Deb 25 July 1938 vol 338 cc2714-5
85. Mr. David Adams

asked the Secretary for Mines how many boys under the age of 18 employed at coal mines attended safety classes during the past year; what proportion this is of the total number of such boys employed at coal mines, whether he is aware that a number of classes have either failed to begin or fallen through owing to insufficient attendance during the past year; and whether he will consider the advisability of making attendance a necessary condition of future mining employment?

The Secretary for Mines (Captain Crookshank)

I have no statistical information as to the ages of boys attending safety classes, but the total number during the 1937–38 session was approximately 14,000, and nearly all these would be under 18 and the majority under 16 years of age. The number of boys under 18 employed in the industry is 73,000, but it must be remembered that very many of these have attended classes and gained their certificates during previous sessions. As regards the third part of the question, I am aware and regret that there have been such setbacks but, over the country as a whole, the number of classes in the 1937–38 session was 532 as compared with 484 in the previous session. As regards the suggestion made in the last part of the question, this is one of the matters to be considered when the report of the Royal Commission is received.

Mr. T. Smith

Can the Minister say in which districts these classes have gone out of existence?

Captain Crookshank

No, Sir; not without notice.

Mr. G. Griffiths

Is the Minister aware that the reason why these classes are going out of existence is because the lads are too tired to attend them when they come out of the pits?