HC Deb 12 November 1953 vol 520 c1130
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.

Mr. Speir

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that, strategically, this area is very well sited for factories engaged on defence projects? Will he call the attention of the Ministry of Supply and that of the Service Departments to that fact?

Colonel Clarke

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.