HC Deb 26 March 1956 vol 550 c1757
19. Mr. Crouch

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the number of coal miners in 1938, and the number employed at the latest convenient date; and the amount of concessionary coal in 1938 and 1955.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

The number of miners was 776,500 and 704,900, respectively, and the quantity of free or concessionary coal 4.6 million tons and 5.1.

Mr. Crouch

In view of that reply, has not the time arrived for a searching inquiry to be made as to why fewer miners should get more coal? Is my right hon. Friend aware that this practice was introduced 100 years ago, when the miners received only a pittance for the long hours they worked, whereas today they receive decent wages? Is concessionary coal included in their Income Tax returns? Finally, is my right hon. Friend aware that as a result of my Question last week I have had scores of letters from all over the United Kingdom saying it is time that this scandal was stopped?

Mr. Jones

Free or concessionary coal forms part of the wages agreement in the coal industry. As I said on an earlier occasion, I think it would be most unwise for a Minister to intervene in wages matters.