Coal Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 1st October 1942.

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This question is one of man-power. The Government and the Lord President of the Council, who, I see, is present, must take the fullest responsibility for allowing the young men to leave the pits at the beginning of the war, and we shall not get production back to its old level until we have put that man-power there. If this country is to be the Allied striking base for the winning of the war, Allied strategy should be directed to the preservation of the British coalfields and their utilisation to the maximum extent. I therefore suggest in all seriousness that a force of miners should be recruited from the British Empire, and if necessary some miners brought from Russia—from the Ukraine where they have been turned out of their mines—to this country and put into mines here, and our displaced miners sent to reinforce the workers in other mines so as to keep our personnel up to strength. In that way we could get back to normal production and would be able to secure the expanded output which is absolutely necessary.