§ Mr. Patrick Maitland
asked the Paymaster-General whether, in view of the unemployment that will arise from the declared intention of the National Coal Board to close within three months collieries upon which whole villages may depend for their livelihood, he will issue a general direction to the National Coal Board to consider favourably any application for a licence by a private company to extract coal from those parts of such mines which remain accessible.
§ Sir I. Horobin
No. Under the terms of Section 36 (2) of the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act, 1946 the National Coal Board may grant a licence to mine coal to a private company if they are satisfied that the number of people to be employed below ground is at no time likely to exceed thirty by any significant amount. The use of this power is a matter for the National Coal Board, who are well aware of the considerations mentioned by my hon. Friend.