HC Deb 03 July 1968 vol 767 cc1477-8
11. Mr. Monro

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consultations he has had with the National Coal Board concerning the retention of Fauldhead Colliery, Kirkconnel

Dr. Dickson Mabon

In accordance with the arrangements set out in paragraph 114 of the White Paper on Fuel Policy, my Department maintains continuing liaison with the National Coal Board in Scotland about colliery closures. These arrangements have naturally covered Fauldhead Colliery which the Board now intends to close on 19th July.

Mr. Monro

As 600 men will be displaced by this closure, may I ask whether the Secretary of State recommended that the colliery should be kept open under Clause 5 until industry had been attracted to the advance factory at Sanquhar?

Dr. Mabon

The hon. Gentleman received a letter from the Minister of Power which is, I think, dated 14th June, in advance of the actual decision being made known to the local people, which explains the reason why the Government have taken this view. Essentially, it is in the long-term interests of the men concerned —and he and I met them as recently as last February—that they take advantage of the redeployment in mines nearby and of the developments at Cumnock and, I hope, at Sanquhar later.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is my hon. Friend aware that miners in the area are grateful for the work being done at the advance factory in the Cumnock area? If that could be expanded, work could be found for the miners displaced at Fauldhead. Will the Minister examine those facts?

Dr. Mabon

Yes, Sir. I know for a fact that at Cumnock developments are quite good, and I hope that they will become better. I recognise the seriousness of the position locally, and I share the disappointment over Sanquhar, but I hope that the advance factory there will be filled and perhaps another one built later.