HC Deb 03 December 1973 vol 865 cc276-8W
Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) whether he will give the date when the miners last had an increase ; and since then what has been the percentage change in the cost of alcoholic drink, tobacco, water charges, charges for repair and maintenance, durable household goods, transport and vehicles, miscellaneous goods and services and meals bought and consumed outside the home to the latest stated date ;

(2) what has been the depreciation of the purchasing value of the £ sterling since the date when the miners last had an increase in wages ; and what has been the percentage change in the retail cost of eggs, bacon, tea, coffee, bread, milk, cheese, meat, and all foods, clothing, boots and shoes, rents, rates, fares, fuel and power, and the general cost of living index figure since this date.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

The last general pay increase for miners, estimated at 7.9 per cent., became payable in April 1973. Between the middle of that month and the middle of October 1973 the depreciation in the purchasing power of the £ sterling, on the basis of the General Index of Retail Prices, was 4.7 per cent. Over the same period the overall rise in the General Index of Retail Prices was 4.9 per cent.

Following are the percentage charges in retail prices between 17th April and 16th October :

Alcoholic drink *
Tobacco *
Rates and Water Charges + 1
Charges for repairs and maintenance and material for home repairs and decorations + 11
Durable household goods + 6
Transport and vehicles + 5
Miscellaneous goods + 3
Services + 4
Meals bought and consumed out-side the home + 4
Eggs + 37
Bacon + 23
Tea *
Coffee extract *
Bread + 10
Milk Fresh *
Cheese, Cheddar type + 2
Beef + 5
Lamb + 18
Pork + 15
All foods + 8
Clothing + 7
Boots and shoes + 6
Rent + 4
Fares + 2
Fuel and light + 2

No information is available on water charges alone, or on charges for repairs and maintenance alone.

* Nil or less than ½ per cent.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will give the present day shift rate of pay, without overtime and plus rates, of the following grades of workers in the coal mining industry : NPLA men, underground grade 3, and surface grade 2 ; and by how much these payments are in excess of or below the national average wage of male workers in industry generally in each instance.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

Rates of pay in coal mining are no longer laid down in "per shift" terms. Since 1st April 1973 the "national standard weekly rates of wages" for workers, 19 years and over, in coal mining have been £36.79 for NPLA men, £27.29 for underground grade III and £25.29 for surface grade II. These rates, along with those for other coal mining grades, are shown in the 1973 issue of the Department's publication "Time Rates of Wages and Hours of Work".

I regret that insufficient information is available from which to calculate a national average wage rate. Average gross weekly earnings derived from the New Earnings Survey 1973 are £41.90. This figure includes overtime pay, bonuses, etc., of full-time men aged 21 and over in all occupations, manual and non-manual, and relates to workers whose earnings were not affected by absence from work. The corresponding figure for manual occupations only, including coal mining, is £38.10, which compares with a figure of £39.80 for the various grades of manual workers affected by the National Coal Board agreement.

Mr. Biffen

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many men have left the mining industry during the most recently available period of two months ; how many have obtained other employment ; and how many have received employment for pay and conditions that were deemed by the Pay Board to contravene the stage 3 pay code.

Mr. Tom Boardman

I have been asked to reply.

In the two months ended 27th October a total of 7,958 men left the industry. This includes those who left voluntarily as well as those who retired, became redundant, or ceased to be so employed for any other reason. In the same period there were 3,020 recruits, giving a net reduction of 4,938. The information requested in the second and third parts of the Question is not available.