HC Deb 20 April 1953 vol 514 cc626-7
23. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the deep-mined coal output for this year, to 18th April, 1953, compared with the equivalent period in 1952; what estimate he has made as to loss of deep-mined output on account of the second week's miners' holiday in 1953 and the Coronation period; and to what extent this year's production rate, if maintained, will be sufficient to overtake these losses while achieving an output for 1953 equal to 1952 and a minimum export for the year of 12,000,000 tons of coal.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Owing to the different date of Easter and the fact that figures for the period ended 18th April are not yet available, the latest period for which comparison may usefully be made is that ended 21st March. For that period output this year exceeded output last year by 181,000 tons.

As regards the second and third parts of the Question, it is estimated that the additional holidays to be taken this year may entail a reduction in coal output of about 4½ million tons. Both the National Coal Board and the National Union of Mineworkers are engaged in a pit by pit campaign to increase the present rate of output in order to make good this serious deficiency, and, if possible, to achieve in 1953 output and exports greater than were obtained in 1952.

Mr. Nabarro

In view of the obvious difficulty in meeting this potential loss of 4½ million tons in the period before the start of the next coal winter, would my right hon. Friend make it clear that the greatest single contribution that industry can make is to look to all their coal-burning equipment with a view to raising its efficiency, and to do so as a matter of great urgency?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, that is undoubtedly so, but the nation badly needs increased output, which we hope may come from the campaign of the Coal Board and the National Union of Mineworkers.

Mr. Snow

With reference to the pit by pit tour the right hon. Gentleman talked about, is he aware that at a pit in my division, which I visited during the week-end. I found that the average weekly wage, contrary to Tory propaganda, is £9 3s.? Will he draw that to the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he comes to the question of incentives?