§ Mr. D. GRENFELL
asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is in a position to give the full results of the special investigation made by his Department 1366W last year into the working hours of horses in mines; what number of horses are employed for six shifts of seven hours per week, and the number working nine. or eleven or more shifts per week; and whether the Regulation providing one horsekeeper for every 15 horses in a mine is generally observed?
§ Mr. SHINWELL
The result of further investigation has confirmed the general conclusion that pit ponies are not overworked, stated in the reply made to the hon. Member for Pontefract on 5th June last. Special reports were obtained in respect of some 46,000 horses, and of these approximately 43 per cent. were employed for six shifts a week, 26 per cent. for more than six but less than nine, 20 per cent. for nine, 6 per cent. for more than nine but less than 11, and 5 per cent. for 11 or more. The real test of overwork is the condition of the ponies, and, save in a few isolated cases, where effective action was taken by the inspectors, this was found to he satisfactory. I shall, however, be glad to have inquiry made into any specific instances of overwork or ill-treatment that are sent to me. The answer to the last part of the question is in the affirmative.