HC Deb 03 December 1951 vol 494 c2000
10. Mr. William Shepherd

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the average amount of free and concessionary coal delivered to miners' households in 1950; how this compares with the normal ration; and what steps are being taken to induce economy.

The Minister of Fuel and Power (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)

Ten tons and about two tons, respectively, Sir. Entitlement to concessionary coal is governed by longstanding local wage agreements, but I understand that the National Coal Board, in consultation with the branches of the National Union of Mineworkers, are doing what they can to effect economies in the various divisions.

Mr. Shepherd

As this concessionary coal amounts to five million tons per annum, is it not clear that there can be no inducement to miners to forgo their concessionary coal, which is part of their pay, unless some much larger cash allowance is made to them? Could not there be some agreement made to give a larger cash allowance, in lieu of this coal, which could be free from taxation?

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Will the Minister give an assurance that he will not in any way interfere with wages, conditions and coal concessions until the Mineworkers' Union deals with matters such as this?

Mr. Lloyd

This is a delicate matter. There is a network of local agreements, and the question has to be approached most carefully. It is primarily a matter for the industry and the National Coal Board.

Mr. E. Fenyhough

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that any young Conservative sitting on the benches opposite who wants to enjoy the benefit of concessionary coal has only to apply to the Coal Board for a job and he will get the concessionary coal with it?