HC Deb 08 March 1960 vol 619 cc235-6
39. Mr. Stones

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has considered the document sent to him by the hon. Member for Consett relating to the employment of miners; whether he is aware that miners are fully capable of undertaking other forms of work; and what steps he is taking to encourage industrialists to establish factories in areas where the principal source of labour is likely to be from those whose previous employment was in the mining industry.

Mr. J. Rodgers

My right hon. Friend has seen the document to which the hon. Member refers, and agrees with him that contrary to what is said therein miners are fully capable of undertaking other forms of work. The Board of Trade is doing what it can to encourage industrialists to establish factories where there is a need for new jobs, whether for ex-miners or for others; and in those areas where the need is greatest special inducements will be available under the terms of the Local Employment Bill.

Mr. Stones

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in my constituency there is a very large steelworks and a ballbearings factory and that many ex- miners are employed there and have given complete satisfaction? Is he aware that any statement that miners can do only their own job is completely untrue? Is he further aware that there is grave concern in the Durham coalfield at the possibility of redundancy in the not-too-distant future, and that anything he can do to relieve the anxiety of the people in that coalfield by way of providing alternative employment will be greatly appreciated?

Mr. Rodgers

There are several instances known to us of ex-miners being employed on precision work in the light engineering industry. The Consett Iron Company has taken on a few hundred ex-miners and their work is extremely satisfactory.