HC Deb 20 November 1950 vol 481 cc6-7
6. Dr. Stross

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the total number of deaths in 1949 among miners from pneumoconiosis and the total number due to accident.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

I am informed by my right hon. Friend the Minister of National Insurance that the number of deaths among miners in 1949 from pneumoconiosis is not known. Four hundred and sixty men were killed in 1949 by accidents in coal mines 10 were killed in metalliferous mines.

Dr. Stross

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a death from pneumoconiosis really means that a man has been killed in the pit? Does he not think that there may be excessive shot-firing to produce coal more easily, and might not this cause excessive pneumoconiosis and also be responsible for some of the dirty coal which we get? What can my right hon. Friend do about it?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Every effort is being made to reduce shot-firing, and it is in fact, decreasing. Many other measures are taken to reduce dust in the mines, and great progress has been made.

Mr. Marlowe

Is it not rather surprising that towards the end of 1950 the right hon. Gentleman has not got the 1949 figures?

Mr. Noel-Baker

The Registrar-General does not keep a separate record of deaths from pneumoconiosis. I have a figure for those who had successfully made claims for pneumoconiosis and who were still alive in 1949.