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Coal Mines (Vacancies and Foreign Workers)

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th November 1957.

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Photo of Sir Richard Pilkington Sir Richard Pilkington , Poole 12:00 am, 27th November 1957

asked the Minister of Labour how many vacancies for miners exist today.

Photo of Sir Richard Pilkington Sir Richard Pilkington , Poole

asked the Minister of Labour how many Hungarians and other foreigners are now working in the mines; and how many more are now available in this country or elsewhere.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

10,500 foreigners, of whom 498 are Hungarians, are working in coal mines. Five hundred more Hungarians are in training centres of the National Coal Board. I have no information about the availability of any other foreigners for coalmining.

Photo of Mr Norman Pentland Mr Norman Pentland , Chester-le-Street

Would not the Minister agree that in modern times one of the greatest deterrents to recruiting for the pits is the risk involved? Is it not true that, despite all the work that has been done by the National Coal Board, the number of men suffering from pneumoconiosis increases in our pits year by year? Would not the Minister further agree that, although the fatal accident figures for 1956 were the lowest on record—for which we are all very grateful—they still mean that for every working day more than one miner was killed last year? In addition, would not the Minister further agree that there were—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."] I will finish on this point—more than 220,000 men seriously injured in the pits, which meant in fact that for every two and a half—

Photo of Mr William Morrison Mr William Morrison , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Order. This is much too long for a supplementary question. The Question was about Hungarians.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

I do not think that any hon. Member would wish to disagree with what has been said by the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Pentland), but his remarks go a long way beyond the purely factual Question on the Paper.