§ 10. Dame Irene Ward
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what has been the increased productivity in colliery undertakings in relation to capital investment; and what increases there have been as a result of expansion, over the longest practical period to the nearest practical date.
§ Mr. Peter Walker
As the answer contains a number of figures I will, with permission, circulate them in the OFFICIAL REPORT. They show that from January 1947 to March 1971 total capital investment, including replacement, in collieries was just under £1,500 million. Productivity rose by 105 per cent. and output declined from 185 million tons to 133 million tons.
§ Dame Irene Ward
I thank my right hon. Friend for that information. Can he, when he publishes the figures in the OFFICIAL REPORT, state whether we are really getting value for the immense amount of money which is being quite rightly put into the mining industry? Is he aware that quite often productivity arises not from the contribution made by the employees but from putting in new machinery? I want to know where the balance lies. I am sure that the Government believe in obtaining value for money.
§ Mr. Walker
The figures in my answer will give the basic facts for which my hon. Friend has asked. I will, if I may, write to her on the subject.
On behalf of both sides of the House, may I say how much we all regret the announcement that my hon. Friend made during the recess.
§ Mr. Harper
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that productivity in the coal mines could be increased even further if he could press the National Coal Board to sink two new pits in the East Riding of Yorkshire? Is it not a shame that men 18 should be crawling about in less than 3 ft. of coal when they could be mining coal 6 and 7 ft. thick, thus bringing productivity to greater heights than have ever been reached before?
§ Mr. Walker
I will refer the hon. Gentleman's suggestion to the Chairman of the National Coal Board.
§ Following are the figures:
|Year||Colliery Investment £ million||Productivity Increase or Decrease Per cent.||Output Million tons|
|1947||14.8||(21.5 cwt. per manshift)||184.7|
|1963/64 (15 months).||98.5||+6.73||237.4|
|(41.9 cwt. per manshift)|
|*Results affected by the strike.|