HC Deb 19 March 1956 vol 550 cc815-6
25. Mr. Crouch

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what quantity of concessionary coal is allowed to clerks and shorthand typists employed by the National Coal Board.

24. Mr. Osborne

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will give an estimate, based on Tables 41 and 47 of his Statistical Digest, of the approximate quantity and value of the free coal received by the individual coal miner per annum.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

I am informed that those in receipt of free coal or coal at concessionary prices get on average about 8 tons a year, worth about £27 at pithead prices. Responsibility for determining the categories of persons entitled to this coal rests with the National Coal Board.

Mr. Crouch

Can my right hon. Friend say how long this practice has been in existence? I accept that the men working at the face should get concessionary coal, but why should the practice be extended to other employees, placing a charge on the ordinary consumer?

Mr. Jones

I am informed by the National Coal Board that this is a longstanding practice.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Is the Minister aware that this has been a matter settled with wage rates for well over a century?

Mr. Blyton

Is the Minister aware that concessionary coal is part of the wages of the men, and that to interfere with it would cause much trouble?

Mr. Jones

I am so aware, and I hope my answer indicated that I do not consider that this is a matter requiring Ministerial interference.