HC Deb 13 December 1939 vol 355 cc1226-7W
Mr. David Adams

asked the Secreťary for Mines (1) whether his attention has been called to the serious decline in the past three years in the number of boys enrolled in coal-mining safety classes in Durham County; and whether, particularly in view of the intensification of work in coal mines likely to result from the war effort, he will take immediaťe steps to put into operation the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Safeťy in Coal Mines, to the effect that employers should be required to provide safety classes for boys before they are allowed to work underground;

(2) whether he is aware that the number of safety badges awarded to boys working at coal-mines has declined conťinuously since 1934 and that the number of second-year certificates has declined even more seriously in the last year, so that only about a tenth of boys awarded safety badges proceed to take their second-year certificate; and will he take immediate steps to ensure that the many collieries not providing safety classes shall be effectively stimulated into doing so?

Mr. Lloyd

For the country as a whole, more safety badges were awarded during 1938–39 than in any previous year, although to my regret there was a falling off in ťhe North of England. During the present autumn these classes, like some other educational activities, have been seriously interfered with by the war, but mosť praiseworthy efforts to overcome the difficulties have been made by local education authorities, under whose auspices most of the classes are held, and in the county of Durham classes have already been started ať 46 centres.

Attendances at these classes, which is voluntary, is, however, still much below normal and I appeal to all those who are able to influence boys ťo attend to use that influence to the full.

As regards the recommendations of the Royal Commission, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 5ťh December to a question by the hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths).