HC Deb 31 July 1974 vol 878 cc440-1W
Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for Wales by what means will it be possible for those who suffer from silicosis and associated lung diseases endemic to the slate industry, to benefit from Government assistance of the type recently announced for pneumoconiosis sufferers in the coal mining industry.

Mr. Rowlands

I am aware of the concern felt in north-west Wales about compensation schemes for the slate industry. The matter is under consideration.

Mr. Harold Walker

I have been asked also to reply.

The compensation scheme proposed in the interim reports of the coal industry examination relates exclusively to coal miners; it will not be a Government scheme. It is being set up by the industry itself because both the National Coal Board and the unions consider that it will be better to proceed in this way instead of the alternative of contesting many claims through the courts. A possible Government contribution arises because the industry is faced with a quite heavy financial burden due to the large numbers of past cases which have to be settled whether under the proposed scheme or in the courts and the Government have to consider these financial consequences because of its general responsibilities for the finances of the National Coal Board as a nationalised industry.