HC Deb 03 November 1938 vol 340 cc341-3
10. Mr. Batey

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that more coal mines have recently been closed in the county of Durham; and what steps the Government propose to take to provide employment for the men thus thrown out of work?

22. Mr. Lawson

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that large numbers of miners are losing their employment in Durham through the closing of seams and mines; that, in view of the numbers already unemployed in that area, this recent breakdown in employment is causing alarm; and whether the Government are taking any steps in this matter?

Mr. E. Brown

I am aware that from 12th September to 17th October there was an increase in the number of miners registered as unemployed in Durham but this increase was less than the decrease in the preceding monthly period. As regards the second part of the question, I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell) on 1st November.

Mr. Batey

Are we to understand that the Minister does not propose to take any steps to find employment for this decreasing trade?

Mr. Brown

That would be quite an unjustified supposition.

Mr. Lawson

The answer of the right hon. Gentleman to the hon. Member does not give any satisfaction at all upon this matter; and do we understand that this continuous unemployment is still to go on and that the Government have no plans at all to meet the situation?

Mr. Brown

The hon. Member does not understand accurately if he understands that.

Mr. Lawson

Is the Minister aware that the situation has become worse during the last six weeks, since the publication of the last official figures?

Mr. Brown

I understand that the disturbing international situation is bound to have an effect. I suggest that the best thing to do is to give full support to the policy of international appeasement in the interests of the export trade.

Mr. Shinwell

In view of the growing depression in the Durham coal industry, will the Minister consult his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade and see if anything can be done?

Mr. Brown

I am always in touch with my right hon. Friend, and this situation, as he knows, is constantly in mind. I would remind the hon. Member that a great deal was done for the North-East coast by trade agreements.

Mr. George Griffiths

Will the Minister also not forget that Yorkshire is suffering from depression?