HL Deb 22 February 1922 vol 49 cc195-6

My Lords, I beg to ask His Majesty's Government whether they propose that all the provisions of Part II. of the Mining Industry Act, 1920, shall cease to have effect, or whether they intend to propose a Resolution to the contrary, under Section 17 of the said Act, before the expiration of 30 days from February 7, 1922, the date of a Report by the Secretary of Mines now laid before Parliament in which it is intimated that those entitled to appoint representatives for carrying out Part II. of the Act have failed to avail themselves of such right.


My Lords, I think the best way in which I can answer the Question of the noble Lord is merely to read a letter which has been addressed to-day by the Prime Minister to Mr. Frank Hodges. That really deals with the whole point of the noble Lord's Question. The letter is as follows:—

"February 22, 1922.

"Dear Mr. Hodges,—His Majesty's Government have carefully considered your letter of February 11, relating to Part II. of the Mining Industry Act, and the request of your executive committee that the Government should move Parliament to pass Resolutions under Section 17 of the Act for the purpose of keeping the provisions of Part II. in force.

"You will already have read the correspondence which has passed between the Secretary for Mines and the. Mining Association on this subject, and I may say at once that I entirely share Mr. Bridgeman's views in regard to the attitude that the coal owners have adopted.

"At the same time I cannot ignore the fact that Part II. in the main does DO more than provide regular opportunities for discussion between the owners and management and the workpeople, and that its ultimate value must depend entirely upon the manner and the spirit in which those opportunities are used.

"At a time when the opposition to these provisions came from your side, a member of your executive said: Of course, the Bill cannot be operated without the whole-hearted co-operation of owners and men.'

"That statement is equally true to-day, when the opposition conies from the other side. Legislation cannot convert an unwilling man into a willing one. I fear, therefore, that so long as either party is opposed to the scheme it would be of no real value to the industry, and, in the circumstances, the Government do not feel that they would be justified in moving Parliament to keep Part II. of the Act in force.

"Yours sincerely,



I am much obliged to the noble Viscount. The letter he has read explains the matter.