HC Deb 30 June 1958 vol 590 cc863-4
13. Mr. Swingler

asked the Paymaster-General if he will give a general direction to the National Coal Board that all civil defence plans involving expenditure on works in deep mines to prepare them for use in case of a hydrogen bomb attack must be submitted to his Department for approval prior to action being taken.

Sir I. Horobin

No, Sir.

Mr. Swingler

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware of the plans recently revealed in North Staffordshire for the use of deep mines for civil defence purposes? Are these plans part of national plans for the use of deep mines for civil defence? Why is it that the Home Office, as the civil defence authority for the country, knows nothing about them, and who pays?

Sir I. Horobin

It is the Coal Board's responsibility, as it is that of other employers, to endeavour to secure the safety of its staff. As a very substantial proportion of the Coal Board's employees at any given time are underground, I should have thought that it would be common ground among all of us that it is the responsibility of the Coal Board to take special action to ensure their safety as far as that can be done.