HC Deb 23 April 1968 vol 763 c16
26. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Minister of Power what further arrangements he has now made with the National Coal Board on the slowing down of pit closures.

Mr. Gunter

None, Sir.

Mr. Shinwell

In order to banish the insecurity existing among miners everywhere, particularly in the North-East, would my right hon. Friend venture to advise the Chairman of the National Coal Board to make an early announcement about future closures?

Mr. Gunter

I am very conscious—as conscious as my right hon. Friend—of the insecurity in the North-East and in my own country. I shall certainly undertake to talk to the Board, as I have already started to do.

Sir G. Nabarro

Will the Minister bear in mind that historically the insecurity arose from the vacillating policy of his predecessor, who presented a White Paper to the House and then withdrew it, and then refused to publish the rate of rundown in the pits?

Mr. Gunter

I have no comment to make.

Sir C. Osborne

Will the Minister tell the House how many pits are due to be closed down, and where most of them are situated?

Mr. Gunter

I could not say at the moment, but I will undertake to find out from the National Coal Board what its plans are.