§ 28. Mr. Speir
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that many of the coal mines in the Halt-whistle area of Northumberland are threatened with closure; and whether he will take steps to encourage the development of light industries in this area so as to maintain employment there.
§ Mr. P. Thorneycroft
I realise that the workable reserves of many of the coal mines in this area are gradually being worked out over the years, though I understand that, as pits close, miners will, where possible, be offered coalmining employment elsewhere. I shall certainly do what I can to help with alternative industry as and when a problem of unemployment occurs.
May I ask my right hon. Friend whether, in view of the shortage of coal, he will try to keep these pits open as long as possible?
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I think that is a question which ought to be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power.