HC Deb 09 October 1945 vol 414 cc6-7
3. Major John White

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if, in view of the shortage of coal for domestic purposes that will arise in the winter, he will make the necessary arrangements with the representatives of the mine owners and mine workers for a temporary cessation of the issue of coal free or at special rates to mine workers, the said mine workers to be given the same allocation of coal as other domestic consumers and cash payments to be made in lieu of the additional tonnage at present received by them.

Mr. Shinwell

The tonnage of coal to which mine workers are entitled free or at concessional rates is governed by agreements in the various districts, some of which include provision for cash payments to be made in lieu of coal voluntarily surrendered. I have impressed upon the two sides in the industry the desirability of extending arrangements of this kind so that further savings in coal consumption may be encouraged.

Major White

Does not the Minister feel that the 4,500,000 tons of coal now required to meet the requirements of miners could and should be distributed at a suitable time over a wider field?

Mr. Shinwell

That is a question that I would like to see on the Paper.

Mr. George Griffiths

Does not the Minister know that this cheaper price of coal to the miner is shown in the tonnage price list and he pays for it every week out of his wages?

Mr. Shinwell

I have indicated that these matters are subject to agreements.

Mr. Keeling

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether miners' households are also allowed as members of the public to buy coal at ordinary rates?

Mr. Shinwell

Under the agreement, coal is provided in certain cases; where it is not so provided, they come under the ordinary arrangements.