Coal Mine Closures, Blaydon

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th May 1963.

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Photo of Mr Robert Woof Mr Robert Woof , Blaydon 12:00 am, 16th May 1963

asked the President of the Board of Trade what information he has been given by the National Coal Board regarding forthcoming closures of coal mines in the Blaydon area.

Photo of Sir David Price Sir David Price , Eastleigh

The National Coal Board has informed my right hon. Friend that the High Marley Hill, Stanley Burn and Stargate collieries in the Blaydon area are scheduled for closure during 1963.

Photo of Mr Robert Woof Mr Robert Woof , Blaydon

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that these forthcoming closures will make a total of twelve coal mines, two large coking plants and other industrial establishments to be closed in the area? Is he further aware that the mobility of labour is becoming much more difficult because mechanisation is leading to cuts in manpower? Would he not agree to the need for immediate measures to offset these serious dislocations? Can he say what long-term plans there are for industrial development in so far as it affects unemployment in the area?

Photo of Sir David Price Sir David Price , Eastleigh

We understand from the National Coal Board that about 395 men are likely to be involved in the three closures which I have mentioned. The Coal Board has said that it is not yet possible to say precisely how many of these can be redeployed to replace natural wastage in neighbouring pits, but that it is unlikely that more than about half the men involved in the closures at Stanley Burn and Stargate can be placed locally. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the Coal Board tries to redeploy men in other parts of the Durham coalfield. We naturally realise that this makes the need to get more industry into the Blaydon area greater, and the hon. Member knows that we are doing the best we can. He may like to know that Blaydon was made a development district in July, 1962, and that since then more than £500,000 has been offered in assistance to firms to go there.