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Hungarian Refugees (Coal Mining)

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th May 1957.

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Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough 12:00 am, 9th May 1957

asked the Minister of Labour how many of the 4,000 Hungarian refugee miners now in this country have completed their training under Government auspices; how long it will take the remainder to complete their training; how many have been allowed to work in British coal mines; and what are the prospects of the remainder obtaining work as miners; the estimated total cost to public funds of training these men; and if he will make a statement on the position.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

The training of Hungarian refugees for coal mining is carried out by the National Coal Board and is not under Government auspices. I am informed by the Board that 350 men have so far completed their training but as the length of training is adjusted to meet individual requirements, the Board is unable to say how long it will take the remainder to do so. Up to 27th April, 144 men had taken up work in coal mining. The National Coal Board and the National Union of Mineworkers are continuing their efforts to secure employment for Hungarians in collieries where British labour cannot meet the need but it is too early at present to say what the prospects are. The cost of the scheme is being met by the National Coal Board.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

If, of the 350 whom my right hon. Friend has said have completed training, only 144 now have jobs, and therefore there are 206 who are trained but cannot get a job, what is the use of spending public money on training a further 4,000 men if jobs are not made available for them when they are trained? Will my right hon. Friend look into that?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

I have tried, out of courtesy to my hon. Friend, to give him the information which I think he requires, but this scheme is carried out by the National Coal Board. It is not under Government auspices. The cost of the scheme is being met by the Board and no cost to public funds therefore arises.