HC Deb 27 June 1960 vol 625 c961
34. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Minister of Power whether he is satisfied that 587,000 to 626,000 miners will be available in 1965, as envisaged by the Revised Plan for Coal, in view of the fact that the net loss in miners is now running at an average of 1,500 a week, and there are now only 602,000 miners left in the coal industry; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Wood

The National Coal Board is hopeful of meeting its 1965 manpower requirements. Numbers have been substantially reduced this year because of the stock position. Many of them are men over 65.

Mr. Wyatt

The average age of the coal miners is rising very fast, which does not square with the Minister's Answer. Is not the Minister aware that owing to the uncertainty about the future of the mining industry, brought about by his own Government's policy, miners are leaving at an ever-increasing rate and wastage is now running at over 1,500 a week? Is he aware that he cannot possibly maintain the force envisaged by the Revised Plan for Coal in 1965 if this continues?

Mr. Wood

If there is uncertainty in the industry, it is a little questionable why it arises. In any event, the central control by the National Coal Board has been removed by the Board, and recruiting, as the hon. Member probably knows, is going on quite vigorously in a number of divisions. I am confident that that recruiting will make up any manpower wastage taking place, as indeed is happening in a number of areas in the country, and that the manpower requirements in 1965 will be reached.