HC Deb 08 October 1924 vol 177 cc562-4W

asked the Secretary for Mines the number of collieries closed down during the last six months; how many men have been thrown out of work in consequence; whether his Department has power to inquire into the reasons for such closing down, to call for the production of books, plans, etc., and to examine the workings of such pits; and is he prepared to recommend that such collieries as are closed down on the ground of unremunerative working should be taken over by the State at scrap prices?


The number of coal mines closed in the last six months, and still closed, is 213. The total number of men ordinarily employed at those mines is 41,100, but I cannot say how many of them are now unemployed. As regards the latter part of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for Spennymoor (Mr. Batey) on the 2nd October. I should certainly not be prepared to recommend a scheme of nationalisation that comprised only those collieries which have proved unprofitable under private ownership.

Sir W. de FRECE

asked the Minister of Labour how many coal pits have been closed in this country since the beginning of the year; and how many blast furnaces have been closed down the the same period?


I have been asked to reply. Two hundred and sixty coal mines have been closed since the beginning of the year and not re-opened, while 118 have been either opened or re-opened during the same period. Of those that have closed 173 were small pits employing, on average, 20 persons. Of the remaining 87, 54 closed owing to bad trade. At the end of August, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 31 fewer blast furnaces working than at the beginning of the year.


asked the Secretary for Mines the number of pits that are closed in Northumberland and Durham?


At the 27th September, which is the latest date for which information is available in my Depart- ment, 11 pits, normally employing 3,223 wage-earners, were closed in Northumberland and 48 pits, employing 12,073 wage-earners, in Durham.

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