Coal Situation

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

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Photo of Mr Gwilym Lloyd George Mr Gwilym Lloyd George , Pembrokeshire

I am sure my hon. Friend will not expect me to deal with that now. I do not even know what the charge against them was or what charge my hon. Friend has in mind against managers, but I can only repeat that so far as I am concerned no interest will stand in the way of the interest of the nation. There are, of course, other matters of immense importance to this industry with which I should like, to have dealt, but I felt that at this moment the House would have liked me to deal with the immediate position. I have concentrated my attention on that, although that is not to say that I have lost sight of other extremely important things, such as the new medical service and plans for recruitment to the industry. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, however, has devoted a great deal of time to these two particular subjects and will deal with them more fully later in the Dabate. As I have mentioned, the question of a long-term policy is one which cannot affect seriously the output for this winter. Therefore, I confined myself to dealing with the subject which is of most interest to the House and the country at this moment—how to get through this winter.

As I have said, I am satisfied that if we can get—as I am certain we can—all concerned seized with a sense of the urgency of the position and to contribute their share, I have no doubt we shall see it through. But I am far from thinking that the tackling of the immediate position is the sole purpose of this Ministry. It is true that this industry is essential in war, but it is equally essential in peace. It produces the raw material upon which the prosperity of this country is founded. All has not been well with this industry for a great number of years. An industry that loses more men than it takes in is not in a healthy state. When we have overcome this immediate position, as I am sure we shall, I shall be free to give my almost undivided attention to the reorganisation of this great industry, so that its vast resources may be used to the best advantage of our nation and for the security and well-being of those who labour within it.