I have been asked to reply. The recommendations in the report, which affect the Mines Department, as well as the Home Office, are under active consideration, in consultation with my hon. Friend the Secretary for Mines. It is not yet possible to make any statement as to the action to be taken, but the urgency of the matter is fully appreciated and it will be dealt with with the least possible delay.
Would the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that this investigation took well over four years and that it is really desirable that urgent action should be taken? Secondly, in framing any new Order, would the Department bear in mind the desirability of ante-dating its operation; otherwise large numbers of men who would be qualified under the report will be disqualified?
With regard to the second point, we will certainly take that into consideration. As to the hon. Member's first point, although this inquiry has taken a long time, the report was only published on 16th May, and there have been other matters affecting the coal industry which have been the concern of the Mines Department since that date.