HC Deb 06 February 1956 vol 548 cc1336-7
33. Mr. Neal

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is satisfied that roof supports of foreign manufacture, as used in the mining industry, comply with the provisions of his safety Regulations and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

I am not aware of any infringement of the Regulations occasioned by the use of roof supports of foreign manufacture.

Mr. Neal

If the Minister is satisfied with the suitability of these foreign-manufactured roof supports, why does he not take steps to provide home-produced steel for them to be manufactured in this country, and so avoid the Coal Board spending enormous sums abroad?

Mr. Jones

I have no responsibility for the distribution of steel. That is a question which the hon. Member should address to my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.

Mr. T. Brown

That is a serious answer. Is the Minister not aware that as Minister he must take full responsibility to a large degree for safeguarding the safety of the men underground, and that he cannot ride off with that answer? If he is dissatisfied with the kind of roof support coming from overseas, then he must notify the National Coal Board.

Mr. Jones

I am not "riding off," and I am not dissatisfied. If, however, anybody produces evidence to me suggesting that foreign roof supports infringe the safety Regulations, it is certainly my duty to consider the representations.

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