HC Deb 07 May 1951 vol 487 cc1579-80
37. Miss Ward

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how far the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Safety in Mines appointed in 1938 are now operative.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

The Royal Commission made numerous recommendations on safety precautions in the mines; statutory effect has been or is being given to most of them by General Regulations made under the Coal Mines Act, 1911. Statutory effect has also been given or will shortly be given to most of their recommendations about management and the qualifications of officials by General Regulations made under the Coal Industry Act, 1949.

The Commission's recommendations on matters of administration have been carried out; for example, the Inspectorate of Mines has been re-organised. Numerous other recommendations, for example, those on dust suppression, the provision of pithead baths, the safety organisation, and other matters, are being voluntarily carried out by the National Coal Board.

Miss Ward

As it appears to have taken a very long time to put all these recommendations into operation, could the right hon. Gentleman say what Government were in power when the Commission was set up, who was the Prime Minister and who was the Secretary for Mines?

Mr. Noel-Baker

It was a Conservative Government. They got the report, but they did not manage to pass any legislation.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Would the right hon. Gentleman, in fairness, bear in mind that a draft Bill based upon these recommendations had been prepared after most painstaking work by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) and that it was to be my duty to introduce it if war had not broken out in 1939?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes, Sir, but we could not take up that Bill after the war because the conditions of the industry had changed, and they are still changing.

Mr. J. Hynd

So that we may get the time factor clear, will the Minister tell us how long the conditions which gave rise to the Commission were in existence before the Commission was set up and what Governments were in office during that time?