HC Deb 29 April 1969 vol 782 cc1147-8
25. Mr. Alec Jones

asked the Minister of Power if he will give the figures for recruitment into the coal industry in the first quarter of 1969 as compared with the first quarter of 1968.

Mr. Mason

6,574 in 1969 compared with 2,782 in the first quarter of 1968.

Mr. Jones

I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply, but is he able to say how many of those recruited were juveniles, and whether he is satisfied that the National Coal Board will be able to maintain the recruitment of juveniles at a sufficiently high level, bearing in mind that the traditional source of recruitment in the old mining areas of South Wales will be lost?

Mr. Mason

It is necessary to keep the morale of the industry high to attract the juveniles we require. In the first quarter of 1969 we recruited 842, compared with 388 in the first quarter of 1968.

Mr. Patrick McNair Wilson

Will the Minister say whether the figures which he has quoted are in line with the target laid down by the National Coal Board of 135 million tons production in 1975, or with the Ministry's target in the White Paper of 120 million tons?

Mr. Mason

We are aiming to keep the manpower rundown within 35,000 per year, and the figure is well within that.

Sir J. Eden

Does the Minister mean 35,000 per annum, whatever the total employment in the National Coal Board, and not 10 per cent. of the National Coal Board's employment figure at the beginning of each year?

Mr. Mason

I did not refer to percentages. We are obliged within the four years special period of 1967–71 to see that there is a rundown of 140,000 men—a manageable figure of 35,000 a year. I think that the rundown was much higher last year, but this year it is running well within the figure.