HC Deb 20 February 1956 vol 549 c9
23. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will give a general direction to the boards of the nationalised industries under his control to co-ordinate their activities in the development of by-products in order to create a by-product industry in those areas where it is necessary to offset the danger of unemployment resulting from pits being worked out.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

I see no reason for giving such a general direction on the grounds suggested by the right hon. Member.

Mr. Shinwell

Why should not these nationalised industries be fully utilised, not only as regards their primary products but all their requirements—in particular, the manufacture of an extensive range of by-products? The gas industry produces them; the coal industry produces them, and the electricity industry can generate steam heat and the like. Why should their activities not be co-ordinated, more especially in view of the danger, which is apparent—especially in the County of Durham—of unemployment?

Mr. Jones

I attach the greatest importance to the fullest development of the byproducts industry, but I am satisfied that the co-ordination which is now being effected between the boards under the Statutes is sufficient. I certainly see no reason to fear unemployment in particular districts because, even though pits may close in one area, the demand for miners is so great that any affected miners ought quite easily to be absorbed elsewhere.