HC Deb 02 May 1968 vol 763 cc1264-5
10. Mr. Finch

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he requires the Welsh Economic Council to consider contemplated pit closures in Wales, when they inquire into the employment prospects in the localities affected, and submit reports to his Department.

Mr. George Thomas

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Finch

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Can he assure us that, before any future pit closures in Wales, the Welsh Council will be able to inquire into the unemployment rate in each locality, and, where it is high, to recommend the postponement of the closure?

Mr. Thomas

I understand that that is the present position.

Sir Knox Cunningham

May I add my personal good wishes to the Secretary of State on his appointment?

Mr. Thomas

I thank the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

In this serious and important matter, which concerns both sides of the House, will the right hon. Gentleman make it clear where the ultimate responsibility for pit closures lies? Will he, above all, make certain that wherever possible his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is not brought into this, because on so many occasions what he has said has been misinterpreted?

Mr. Thomas

When my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is brought in, it is always to good effect. The colliery closure programme is the National Coal Board's. I am in close touch with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Power about closures generally and with my other colleagues about the action which needs to be taken to deal with the results of closures in particular areas.