HC Deb 12 February 1942 vol 377 cc1560-1
45. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Prime Minister whether consideration has been given to the position of the mining industry in the light of the new situation; have all the Government Departments concerned been consulted; and will he issue instructions for a number of miners, where convenient, to be temporarily released from service in the Armed Forces?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Attlee)

The whole coal situation, both as regards consumption and production, is being regularly reviewed by the appropriate authorities and in that connection consideration is of course given to the question of man-power, including that of a temporary release of ex-miners from the Armed Forces. Hitherto it has not been considered necessary to take this rather serious step in order to maintain essential coal production, but the man power situation generally is now being examined afresh.

Mr. E. Smith

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that all those engaged in the mining industry have made a great effort to bring about the maximum production, and that now they are of the opinion that they have reached the peak of production with the number of men in the industry?

Mr. Attlee

All those considerations will be borne in mind. We are keeping in very close touch with all those engaged in the industry.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the right hon. Gentle man aware that we shall never get the maximum production of coal while the mine-owners keep the industry on a county basis, and will not the Government take steps to set up a national board and treat the industry nationally?