§ Sir J. NORTON-GRIFFITHS
asked the Minister of Labour whether, seeing that the Sankey Commission Report, in its prophecy that a seven-hours' working day would produce at least 266 million tons of coal in the first year has been falsified, and seeing that under present conditions the pre-War output of coal would appear to be unattainable, he is prepared to advise that the reintroduction of the eight-hour working day is desirable, seeing that such change would tend to reduce the price of coal and so give a further impetus to our efforts to regain our commercial prosperity?
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
I have been asked to reply. I do not accept the view that the pre-War output is unattainable under the present limitation of the hours of underground work. It must be remembered that the reduced demand arising from the present depression of trade has led to a decrease in the number of pits working and persons employed, as compared with the years immediately preceding the War, as well as to loss of time in the pits which are working. If allowance is made for these factors, the rate of output during recent weeks indicates that, if a revival of trade leads to increased demand, there is no reason why the normal pre-War rate of output should not be attained.