§ Mr. de Freitas
asked the Paymaster-General whether he is aware that the National Coal Board are one of the largest users of excavators manufactured by Ruston Bucyrus, of Lincoln, that Ruston Bucyrus is at present working a reduced week of 35 hours, with a consequential reduction in earnings, and that next week a further 80 adult male workers will be dismissed because of shortage of orders; and whether he will make a statement on the future of opencast coal mining.
§ Sir I. Horobin
I explained the Government's views on the future of opencast coal production during the Second Reading debate on the Opencast Coal Bill on 22nd January. The purchase of excavators for opencast coal mining is a matter for commercial negotiation between the National Coal Board and the company.