HC Deb 17 May 1944 vol 400 cc186-7
72. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power to what extent enemy prisoners of war in this country have been put to work in the coal mines; and is it proposed to increase the number of those employed in this way.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power (Mr. Tom Smith)

It is not the intention of the Government to employ prisoners of war in the coal mines. The position of the Government on this matter was made clear by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for India and Burma in a Debate in another place on 26th October, 1943.

Mr. Lipson

In view of the fact that the enemy are using 20,000 of our men in their coal mines, why are we not taking advantage of this great reservoir of labour when there is a great shortage of labour in the coal mines? Cannot the matter be reconsidered?

Mr. Smith

This matter has been reconsidered but, at the moment, we have enough trouble without adopting this suggestion.

Mr. McGovern

Is not the privilege of working in our coal mines especially reserved for British subjects?

Mr. George Griffiths

Is the Minister aware that the miners of Great Britain do not want the Germans down the mines because it would be too dangerous for our chaps?