§ 74. Mr. J. Griffiths
asked the Secretary for Mines the number of coal mines that have been closed in South Wales in the past 12 months and the number of persons deprived of their employment in consequence; and whether, in view of the increased unemployment in the area, he will initiate discussions with the representatives of the industry to concert measures to prevent the closing of coal mines?
§ The Secretary for Mines (Captain Crookshank)
During the year ended 25th February, 1939, 40 pits, previously employing 11,973 wage earners, have been temporarily closed and not yet reopened. In the same period five pits, previously employing 580 wage earners, have been abandoned. While I am constantly endeavouring, in consultation with representatives of the industry, to improve the condition of the coal trade and thereby avoid the necessity for closing pits, I do not think that discussions would serve any useful purpose at present.
§ Mr. Griffiths
In view of the great feeling of concern that exists in South Wales at the increasing number of pits that are being closed down, will not the Minister take steps himself, through the industry, to discover whether these collieries could not be kept going?
§ Mr. Griffiths
In view of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman' s statement that 40 collieries have been closed down in one year, and in view of the fact that that process has been going on for 10 years, cannot he do anything at all?
§ Captain Crookshank
I have already stated in my reply what I am trying to do, but that I do not think that discussions on this point would be useful at the present moment.