§ The Under-Secretary of State for Energy (Mr. John Moore)
Provisional figures show that in 1982 overall revenue output per manshift averaged 2.41 tonnes, an increase of 1.3 per cent. on 1981.
§ Mr. Hardy
Will the Minister confirm that, although the figure is more modest than for many years, it is evidence of the enormous technological achievements that have taken place in the mining industry? Will he also confirm that our industry is the most successful deep-mining industry in the world and that it can remain so if the Government ensure that adequate investment is forthcoming?
§ Mr. Moore
Yes. It shows clearly the massive investment that has gone into the technological advance of our industry, and obviously both sides of the House welcome that. However, it is disappointing to all of us who want coal to be successful that the expected increases in productivity under the "Plan for Coal" have not materialised so far.
§ Mr. Hannam
Does my hon. Friend agree that if the unions had been able to fulfil their side of the commitment in "Plan for Coal", as the taxpayer and the Government have done with their investment, electricity prices and general industrial costs would be lower than they are today?
§ Mr. Eadie
The Minister gave the figures. On the theme of disappointment, does he agree that it is also disappointing that, since this Government took office, there has been very little evidence of new pit sinkings?
3 What are the prospects for new pit sinkings? I ask that because there in lies the hope of achieving increased productivity?
§ Mr. Moore
I am delighted to see the hon. Gentleman back in the House after his recent operation.
The hon. Gentleman will know, of course, from his experience, that the vast majority of new investment since "Plan for Coal" has gone into the long-life pits in terms of improved technology. New pit sinkings are a facet of the long-term improvement of the industry, as also is the removal of the uneconomic capacity of the industry, which is part and parcel of that investment process.