HC Deb 20 November 1947 vol 444 c1331
48. Sir William Darling

asked the Minister of Labour if any plans are under consideration whereby the coal-needy European nations should arrange to supply the labour force necessary to dig coal from British mines under British technicians.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Ness Edwards)

No, Sir, apart from any proposals received from the Italian Government to which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power referred in his reply on 6th November to the hon. and gallant Member for Knutsford (Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport). Arrangements have, however, been in operation for some time for the recruitment of Poles and European Volunteer Workers for the coal-mines, and some 6,500 have so far entered the industry or are in training. The intention is to continue these schemes to provide the maximum number which the industry is prepared to absorb.

Sir W. Darling

Does not the Minister think that here is a chance of much-needed international co-operation, and would he consider putting these views before the International. Union of Mineworkers so that the raising of coal throughout the world would become a matter of international consideration?

Mr. Ness Edwards

The National Union of Mineworkers have already agreed to the importation of 30,000 from the Continent, and it is on that scheme that we are at present working.

Mr. Osborne

Of the 6,500, how many are in training and how many are already working in the mines?

Mr. Ness Edwards

I think the vast majority are in work. A very small minority are in training.