HC Deb 20 January 1942 vol 377 cc176-7
2. Mr. Parker

asked the Secretary for Mines what is the number of colliery firms which have been taken over since the beginning of the war on the grounds of inefficiency?

Mr. Grenfell

The Department has taken control of four companies, has guaranteed bank overdrafts in five cases, has met losses in working for short periods in three cases, and has lent money to two companies. All the cases of control were due primarily to financial difficulties, but action was taken in the interests of the maintenance of production from those pits.

Mr. Parker

Does not the hon. Gentleman recognise that unless he is prepared to take over inefficient pits, he has no real sanction to apply to ensure efficiency?

Mr. Grenfell

I can assure my hon. Friend that where we find inefficiency we have the power, and we use the power, to remedy it. In the four cases where we have taken over control, it is intended that the management shall be improved.

Mr. Tinker

When shall we have an opportunity of examining the financial assistance given? Will it appear in the report of the Chancellor of Exchequer?

Mr. Grenfell

I think it will come on the Department's Vote.

Mr. Mathers

Can the hon. Gentleman say how many of these cases have occurred in Scotland?

Mr. Grenfell

No case of taking over control has occurred in Scotland.