Coke Oven Plants

Oral Answers to Questions — Coal – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th April 1959.

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Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington 12:00 am, 13th April 1959

asked the Paymaster-General whether he is aware of the National Coal Board's policy of reorganisation of coke oven plants; and how many coke oven men are likely to be made redundant in consequence.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

I understand that the National Coal Board is now reviewing its long-term plans for the production of coke. I cannot at present say what the outcome of this review will be.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Does the Minister realise that a very serious situation has developed, particularly in the County of Durham, because of the closing down of coke oven plants, with the result that a very large number of coke oven men are now unemployed? Are we to understand that there is no prospect of a resumption of the coke oven plants in the near future?

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

The activity of the coke oven plants must depend on the trend of the demand for coke. I can tell the right hon. Gentleman that the number of men made unemployed by closures last year and in late 1957 was about 800 and that only 200 of them were not provided with alternative employment.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

But is the right hon. Gentleman aware that where men have been re-employed it has usually been at coke oven plants remote from where they were living and that as they have been called upon to meet removal expenses and other liabilities incurred, a very difficult situation exists for them?

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

I am sure that the National Coal Board, which has been in very close consultation with the National Union of Mineworkers about the redundancies last year, will bear that very much in mind.