HC Deb 24 April 1941 vol 371 cc231-2
1. Mr. James Griffiths

asked the Minister of Labour whether he has considered the representation made by the Ammanford Urban District Council, urging the establishment of suitable industries in the area to provide suitable work for the increasing number of men disabled from working in the coalmines by silicosis and now unemployed, who could work in suitable occupations; and whether he will take steps to assist in this direction?

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Bevin)

Yes, Sir. I recognise the desirability of providing local work for these men so far as this is practicable. My hon. Friend will appreciate, however, that the establishment of new factories in any area is a matter for the Supply Departments, whose decision must be subject to strategic and technical requirements. I am discussing with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture whether these men might be employed in agricultural work.

Mr. Griffiths

The Minister will recognise that the number of these men is growing, that they are deeply anxious to serve the country in these days, and that it will be a matter of very great satisfaction to them if they are given the opportunity?

Mr. Bevin

I appreciate that; and I trust that I shall have the assistance of everybody concerned in organising these men and in transferring them to useful work.

Mr. Tinker

Does the Minister realise that this disease is growing in the mining industry, and that if something can be done, it will be of value, not only for the present time but for the future?

Mr. Bevin

Yes, Sir.