asked the Secretary for Mines whether the Government have made any progress in the drafting of their proposed Bill to deal with the question of subsidence in mining areas; and, if not, whether they will announce their definite intention not to deal with the matter, in spite of the hardships which it causes?
I have given prolonged consideration to this question, in the hope of being able to introduce legislation dealing with it in a comprehensive way on the lines suggested by one or other of the various Committees and individuals that have studied the subject. But I have not been able to find or to devise any scheme likely to give effective assistance to the occupier of the surface which does not involve the imposition of an additional financial burden, either on the taxpayer, or on the ratepayer or on the mining industry. In present circumstances, I am not hopeful of being able to propose legislation which would carry out the objects desired by the hon. Member. But a Bill is being prepared for dealing with some of the recommendations made by the Committee on acquisition and valuation of land on this and kindred subjects.
I cannot say for certain. I rather hope that it may be, but I am trying to get the greatest measure of agreement in order to facilitate the passage of the Bill, and I am waiting for the three parties concerned to have a final meeting to see how far agreement can be reached.