HC Deb 06 February 1956 vol 548 c1337
40. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what decline in coal production occurred in 1955 compared with 1954 and for what reasons; and the total planned coal production during 1956.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

Two million tons. An increase in opencast production was more than offset by a decline in deep-mined output through higher dispute losses, lower manpower, lower output per manshift overall and greater absenteeism. If all these factors were to continue through 1956 a further serious loss of output would be inevitable. I look to the National Coal Board and National Union of Mineworkers to avert this disastrous consequence and to improve upon performance in 1955. There is no upper limit to what is needed.

Mr. Nabarro

Can my right hon. Friend say anything about Saturday working, in consideration of the fact that very many million tons of coal were contributed to last year's output by the public-spirited effort of the whole mining industry in responding so well to Saturday working? Does he anticipate that that will continue during 1956?

Mr. Jones

All I would say is that the withdrawal of Saturday working would certainly entail a serious loss of output.

Mr. T. Brown

Is the Minister not aware that the mining industry is the only industry which has volunteered to work on Saturdays?