§ Mr. Alfred Morris
asked the Minister of Technology what proportion of the £100 million provided under the Coal Industry Act to help meet the social costs of pit closures, provide new jobs, help miners move to jobs in other coalfields, and to supplement the income of miners over 55 years of age who have difficulty in finding suitable work, has been expended in the area of Lancashire, Cheshire and the High Peak.
Mr. Alan Williams
The Act authorised up to £45 million towards social costs, and whatever was needed for early retirement benefits and the Redundant Mineworkers' Scheme. It did not cover expenditure for the provision of new jobs outside the industry.
So far, £22.5 million has been paid in grants to the National Coal Board towards the social costs connected with pit closures; and £8 million has been paid under the Redundant Mineworkers' Payments Scheme. In addition £16 million has been spent on extra coal burnt at power stations.
I regret that to identify the proportion of the total spent in the areas to which my hon. Friend refers would involve disproportionate time and expense.