HC Deb 30 January 1984 vol 53 c9
8. Mr. Marlow

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will bring forward plans to reorganise the coal industry.

Mr. Peter Walker

I have no present plans to do so.

Mr. Marlow

If my right hon. Friend has not already done so, will he consider the possibility of leasing individual or groups of mines to the miners within them, so that they have more control over their future and employment and can help to reduce the losses in the industry?

Mr. Walker

If at any time miners wish to approach the National Coal Board along those lines, I am sure it would be willing to listen to them and to consider the advantages and disadvantages that there might be.

If the question were whether the Government plan to reorganise the collieries, I can say that our aim is to ensure that the considerable investment that has been made produces an efficient coal industry with a good future for the miners.

Mr. Wilson

Given the number of pit closures already in Scotland, the expected drop in coal burn and the new economic criteria used for the closure of Polmaise colliery, what do the Secretary of State and the National Coal Board intend to do about the Scottish mining industry, and what proportion of it will remain after they have had their way?

Mr. Walker

In the pit mentioned by the hon. Gentleman and the other pits there is an agreed procedure between the NCB and the NUM for an examination on a pit-by-pit basis of any closure proposals. That is taking place now.