HC Deb 05 May 1952 vol 500 cc11-2
18. Mr. George Brown

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will now consider taking the necessary steps to implement the remaining recommendations of the Turner Report on the Consequences of Mining Subsidence.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

No, Sir, not in present circumstances.

Mr. Brown

Is the Minister aware that the whole cost of this subsidence is now falling upon the local authorities in the areas concerned? Does he think that reasonable, and if he cannot implement the Report will he at least discuss with the Minister of Housing and Local Government the making of some arrangement for payment from the Exchequer of grants for this purpose?

Mr. Lloyd

I appreciate the difficulties of this long-standing problem. My position in this matter is really the same as that of the previous Government, who said that they could not introduce more far-reaching legislation until the economic position had improved.

Mr. Brown

The previous Government introduced the first step—the first Bill— to implement the first part. Two or three years have now elapsed. The implementation of the rest of the recommendations will not add a penny to the cost, but will spread it over the whole of the country instead of over the local authorities only. Does the Minister not think the time has come for this Government to be as forthcoming as the last one, and to take the next step?

Mr. Lloyd

The last Government tied this matter to the question of the economic position, but after they made that statement they were in office for a further year, and the economic situation deteriorated greatly.

Mr. M. Follick

Seeing that the Minister has just spoken very highly of the East Midlands, may I tell him that I attended a conference of five East Midlands local authorities a short time ago. and that the East Midlands is the greatest sufferer from this subsidence? Would the Minister not say that now is the time, in view of the fact that local authorities are obliged to raise their rates by 1s., 2s., 3s., and even 4s. in the £, to make this a national question and no longer a local one?