§ Mr. HILLS
asked the Prime Minister whether, seeing that all the regulations under the Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1911, have not yet been issued, and having regard to the dislocation caused in the trade by the recent strike, he will consider the advisability of postponing the 365W date, 1st July next, of the Act coming into operation?
§ Mr. McKENNA
The Prime Minister has asked me to reply to this question. I have been asked by the Mining Association of Great Britain whether this could be done, and I caused a reply to be sent on the 3rd instant in the following terms: "In reply to your letter of the 18th ultimo, asking whether, in the special circumstances arising out of the recent strike, it would be possible to postpone for a few months the date on which the Coal Mines Act, 1911, is to come into force, I am directed by the Secretary of State to say that he would not be prepared to promote a Bill in Parliament which would be the only means by which effect could be given to your suggestion, nor can he see any sufficient ground for a general postponement of the application of the provisions of the Act. He recognises, however, that the interruption in the work of the mines caused by the recent strike may make it difficult in many cases to complete the structural alterations required for compliance with the new Act by 1st July next, and in cases where the Inspector of Mines is satisfied that every reasonable effort is being made by the management to bring the mine into conformity with the new Act, he will not think it necessary to enforce absolute compliance with the structural requirements until a reasonable time has been allowed to make good the delay caused by the strike and the consequent disorganisation of work." As regards the reference to the Regulations to be made under the Act, I may point out that by Section 126 of the Act the existing special rules are continued in force until Regulations have been made.