HC Deb 21 March 1944 vol 398 cc656-7
30. Mr. Foster

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will consider the advisability of taking over full control of those undertakings in the mining industry which have become necessitous under the Coal Charges Fund Order, 1942, in the national interest and for the maximum production of coal.

Major Lloyd George

No, Sir, but the Group Production Directors who are now being appointed under my scheme for improved operational control, are being instructed to pay special attention to undertakings which receive financial assistance under the Necessitous Pits Scheme.

Mr. Foster

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman not aware that there are 84 necessitous undertakings in the industry being subsidised by public money from the Coal Charges Fund? Is he not also aware that when a colliery becomes a necessitous undertaking, the incentive to produce the maximum amount of coal ceases to exist? In view of the fact that the man at the face is being offered a bonus, or an increase in piece Tate to produce the maximum amount of coal, should not something be done with the coalowners? What does the Minister propose to do?

Major Lloyd George

I have indicated that the most important thing in any necessitous undertaking is supervision, and that, I hope, will be greatly improved and strengthened by the proposals now operating.

Mr. Ness Edwards

In view of the policy of appointing new Group Production Directors, which was announced three months ago, will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman explain why it has not been put into operation?

Major Lloyd George

That is not so. In some areas, of course, the proposals are not in operation but I have to get the best available people. There is no reservoir, as my hon. Friend knows, from which we can draw.

Sir H. Williams

If the industry were nationalised, would they not all become necessitous undertakings?