HC Deb 06 March 1945 vol 408 cc1810-1
25. Mr. Collindridge

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the rate of accidents, fatal and non-fatal, in the mining industry in each of the last seven years in relation to man-shifts worked and 100,000 tons of coal got, respectively.

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

As the answer involves a number of figures, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Collindridge

Could my hon. Friend say whether there is an improvement in those figures as compared with seven years ago?

Mr. Smith

Yes, Sir; I think the tendency is for the fatal accident rate to decrease, but unfortunately the non-fatal accidents rather tend to increase.

Following is the information:

in some cases the necessity for closing would have been obviated had a joint pumping scheme been in operation. The existing powers to set up joint drainage schemes, which are contained in Section 18 of the Mining Industry Act, 1920, require in practice that an effective majority of the colliery undertakings concerned should be in favour of the scheme. How far it may be necessary or desirable to amend the existing law is a matter which will require to be considered in the light of the reports of the Survey Committees in the various Regions, and of the Advisory Committee on the Technique of Coal Production.

Mr. Davies

Has my hon. Friend noticed that nearly as many coalmines have been closed in the last 45 years as there are remaining in operation at present, and could he see whether there is not some legal power somewhere to prevent colliery companies quarrelling among themselves in future and closing good pits because they refuse to join co-operative pumping schemes, leaving thereby large areas derelict?

Mr. Smith

I am well aware that many pits have been closed and why some of them were closed, but I cannot go into it at Question Time.

Mr. Davies

Is my hon. Friend aware that practically all colliery owners who are quarrelling with one another in this connection are Conservatives?