HC Deb 19 May 1947 vol 437 cc1992-3
35. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Minister of Food why a miner who voluntarily absents himself from work gets the special miners' extra allocation of food

Mr. Strachey

Proposals to make rations depend upon attendance at work would be, in my view, both undesirable and impracticable.

Sir W. Smithers

Is the Minister aware that, in the Government's spiritual home in Russia, if men to whom work is offered will not work, they hold up the ration cards, and will he not follow their example for once?

Mr. Strachey

No, Sir, we do not intend to follow any of the examples pointed out to us by the hon. Member.

Mr. Walkden

Will my right hon. Friend never forget that those who were extremely willing to work under a Tory Government could get neither food nor a chance to work?

Mr. Speaker

I think we had better get away from these side issues and get on with the next Question.

77. Commander Agnew

asked the Minister of Food whether all miners working underground are now receiving coupons entitling them to draw extra rations of food.

Mr. Strachey

Yes, Sir.

Commander Agnew

While I thank the Minister for that very satisfactory reply, which the tin miners of Cornwall will be very glad to note—

Mr. Strachey

I thought the hon. and gallant Member meant coal miners. In the Question he refers to underground workers. It is perfectly clear that when the concession was made we were referring to coal miners.

Commander Agnew

Are we to understand that the Minister, having said that all underground miners were receiving extra food rations, is now restricting it to coal miners: further, are we to take it that his Department have not yet, because of their smaller numbers, heard of the existence of miners in any other occupations except coal; and will he address himself to the problem of giving them, in their arduous work, the extra rations which they need?

Mr. Strachey

Oh yes, Sir, we have heard of other miners, but it was stated very carefully in the course of Questions and answers at the time, that this concession was restricted to coal miners who, from the very much more dangerous type of work—[HON. MEMBERS; "No."] Yes, the very much more dangerous type of work—should have this concession.

Colonel Ropner

Does the Minister say that the extra food is to guard those miners against danger?

Mr. Strachey

No, Sir. It was considered that this concession should be confined to coal miners for very good reasons, one of the reasons being the arduousness and danger of their work. I am perfectly willing to repeat those arguments at a suitable time, but they have all been given to the House before.