HC Deb 05 March 1946 vol 420 c160
18. Captain Marples

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that production of coal last month in the French mines was, notwithstanding the worn equipment of French mines, above prewar level at 3,974,000 tons; and whether, as this result was largely due to the employment in the mines of 50,000 German prisoners of war, he has considered the possibility of taking similar steps to raise output in this country.

Mr. Shinwell

I am aware of the employment of German prisoners of war in French mines, but I prefer to rely on British miners to provide the coal required in this country.

Sir W. Smithers

Is it not a fact that the reason why the right hon. Gentleman will not use foreign miners in the British mines is because he is afraid of offending the T.U.C.?

Mr. Shinwell

The hon. Gentleman, as usual, is badly informed.

Captain Marples

Is not the Minister aware that these German prisoners could be employed in addition to, and not in substitution of, our own miners? Does he not consider it would be a practical step towards solving the present low production of coal?

Mr. Shinwell

No, Sir, I do not believe it would solve any problem at all; it might create new ones.

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