Colliery Closures

Oral Answers to Questions — Coal – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th May 1965.

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Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West 12:00 am, 25th May 1965

asked the Minister of Power if he will give a general direction, in the public interest, to the National Coal Board that no colliery employing more than 400 men shall be closed until satisfactory arrangements are made for the redeployment of manpower.

Photo of Sir John Morris Sir John Morris Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of Power)

No, Sir, but the National Coal Board consults the unions about individual closures in accordance with the intentions of the Nationalisation Act and has been largely successful in finding men other jobs within the industry.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

Is my hon. Friend aware that no one would deny that the National Coal Board has had considerable success in redeploying manpower declared redundant as a result of closures of collieries? Nevertheless, does not he recognise that, in the case of large collieries, a great deal of hardship is caused, not only by short-term or long-term redundancy, but by a considerable reduction in wages, even when the men are redeployed within the industry? Will he give an undertaking that he will take an active interest in collieries employing more than 400 men in order to see that this kind of hardship is reduced to the absolute minimum?

Photo of Sir John Morris Sir John Morris Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of Power)

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for the first part of his supplementary question. He will know that my right hon. Friend has no power to intervene in individual closures. As for the redeployment of men, I know that the Departments which are concerned with employment and planning keep these matters to the fore at all times.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

Can the Minister say how many pits employ more than 400 men? Does not he agree that no nationalised industry can be run exclusively in the interests of its workers?

Photo of Sir John Morris Sir John Morris Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of Power)

Perhaps the hon. Member will put down a Question on that subject.