HC Deb 28 July 1938 vol 338 cc3284-6
36. Mr. Beechman

asked the Home Secretary the number of cases of silicosis among tin miners in Cornwall certified by the Silicosis Medical Board during the seven years from 1st June, 1931, to 31st May, 1938, and from 1st June, 1937, to 31st May, 1938; and how many of such cases in the respective periods were or proved fatal?

Sir S. Hoare

Between 1st June, 1931, and 31st May, 1938, the Silicosis Medical Board certified 50 tin miners to be disabled by the disease and certified in 37 cases that death was due to the disease. In 25 of the fatal cases the workmen had previously been certified to be disabled. For the year ending 31st May, 1938, there were five fatal cases (four of whom had previously been certified as disabled) and 10 cases of disablement.

37. Mr. Beechman

asked the Home Secretary whether he is satisfied that compensation is paid in all cases where silicosis proves a cause of death to tin miners; and whether he will amend the law so as to provide for compensation in all such cases?

Sir S. Hoare

I do not receive returns of the results of workmen's compensation claims, but I have had no complaint of failure to obtain compensation among tin miners either generally or in particular cases, where the Silicosis Medical Board have certified death to have been caused by the disease. The compensation scheme covers all underground operations in tin mines, and so far as I am aware no amendment of the scheme in relation to that industry is necessary.

Mr. Beechman

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in a number of cases dependants are refused compensation on the ground that, although silicosis has contributed to death, it is not the approximate cause, and in view of the appallingly high percentage of mortality in these cases, will my right hon. Friend review the situation with a view to widening the scheme?

Lieut.-Commander Agnew

Is my right hon. Friend aware of an anomaly which exists in the scheme in that mine owners are unwilling to employ many a tin miner ho, though affected slightly with silicosis, is perfectly fit and able to work; and will he therefore, in any review or amendment of the scheme that he may make, remove this disability on the chances of employment of many experienced and useful miners?

Mr. Dingle Foot

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that frequently silicosis leads to tuberculosis, and that where a man has died from tuberculosis which has been the result of silicosis, it is sometimes very difficult to obtain compensation?

Sir S. Hoare

I will consider all those points in connection with any possible future legislation.