HC Deb 06 February 1956 vol 548 c1331
27. Mr. Neal

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power when he proposes to fix the appointed day for the operation of the Mines and Quarries Act, 1954.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

Good progress has been made with the drafting of new regulations and the other work that must be completed before the Act can be brought into operation. Much consultation with the various interests concerned has already taken place, but, in addition to the consultations for which the Act provides, I also intend to invite the interested parties to study the large volume of necessary re-enactments of existing Acts and regulations before they are brought into force. The sooner this study is completed the sooner I shall be in a position to name the appointed day, but I certainly hope that the Act will be in operation well before the end of the year.

Mr. Neal

Is the Minister aware that it is 15 months since this Act received the Royal Assent, and does he not think that it is high time it became operative? Will the right hon. Gentleman please bear in mind that there was a marked increase in the number of fatal accidents in coal mines during 1955, some of which might have been avoided if this Act had been in operation?

Mr. Jones

I am aware that much time appears to have elapsed, but the work to be done is considerable. I assure the hon. Gentleman that it is my aim to expedite this matter as much as I possibly can.