HC Deb 17 December 1929 vol 233 cc1226-7W

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he is aware that the average proceeds per ton since 1924 from the sale of coal as declared in wage ascertainments have declined by 30.2 per cent., whereas the average market price for coal, as shown in the "Iron and Coal Trades Review," has declined by only 20.9 per cent.; whether he has any evidence showing that this divergence is due to an increased proportion of output transferred to associated concerns at less than the realisable market prices; and whether, in this case, he proposes to take steps to prevent the reduction of miners' earnings on account of such wage ascertainments?


In comparing the price of coal in the wages ascertainments with published quotations, my hon. Friend is comparing the average price for all coal with the average quotation for certain qualities only. In addition, in calculating the difference between quotations in 1924 and those in 1929, he is comparing a rising market when published quotations are apt to lag behind actual taking prices with a more steady market when quotations and taking prices are more nearly equal. Without knowing which quotations from the publication referred to my hon. Friend has used, I cannot make any useful detailed comment on his figures, but if he will supply me with particulars of the material on which his calculations are based I will have the position examined. Although I have frequently heard the allegation, I have no concrete evidence that coal is transferred to associated companies at less than realisable market values. The third part of the question therefore does not arise.