HC Deb 30 November 1959 vol 614 c846
4. Mr. McKay

asked the Minister of Power if he is aware that for several years coal miners took only one week's holiday instead of the two to which they were entitled, that they worked a six-day week instead of the five days agreed upon, and that they agreed to the importation of foreigners to get output increased, and to increase the supply of coal in view of national necessity; and if he will now consider making a grant instead of a loan during the period of reorganisation of the pits.

Mr. Wood

The Government appreciate the contribution miners made towards increasing coal production in time of shortage. I am satisfied that the present methods, as laid down by Statute, are adequate and appropriate to finance the National Coal Board's programme of reorganisation and development.

Mr. McKay

Would it not be true to say that if the extra wealth produced out of the sacrifices of the miners were calculated it would probably amount to £1,000 million? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, in the way of advances to various industries, subsidies to farmers, and investment allowances, others all over the country are making profits? Is he aware that they are getting what the miners cannot get because there are no profits after the payment of interest and because the investment allowances are no good? Is the Minister aware that the interest charges are equal to 3s. per ton? Is it not rather ungrateful that the country should ignore the position of the mining industry by refusing a grant?

Mr. Wood

As the hon. Member will remember, I initiated steps last week which I hope the House will approve, to provide the necessary finance for the Coal Board's operations in the near future. I took the view then, and I take it now, that that will be the best way to provide the finance which the Coal Board will need.

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