Coal Mines (Safety Measures)

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 Edwin Wainwright Mr Edwin Wainwright , Dearne Valley 12:00 am, 25th May 1965

asked the Minister of Power what was the total amount spent on safety measures in the coal mining industry by the Government and the National Coal Board in the years 1960 to 1964, respectively; and what is the estimated amount in 1965.

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

Expenditure by the Government on measures to promote safety and health in mines and quarries was approximately £1,700,000 in each of the three years 1960–61 to 1962–63; £1,900,000 in 1963–64 and £2,350,000 in 1964–65. The estimate for the current year is £2,250,000. I am asking the Chairman of the National Coal Board to write to my hon. Friend about the Board's expenditure on such measures.

Photo of Mr Edwin Wainwright Mr Edwin Wainwright , Dearne Valley

Will my hon. Friend consider having discussions with the Chairman of the National Coal Board and representatives of the N.U.M. on future safety measures in the mining industry? Is he not aware that there has been a vast change in the types of machines used nowadays in the winning of coal, and that everyone, I think, feels that further safety measures should be discussed?

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

I am deeply aware of the concern there is about safety in the mines. My right hon. Friend asked me to look particularly at all the aspects of the problem, but, as my hon. Friend is aware, most accidents are caused, not by lack of knowledge, but by failure to apply knowledge. If there is anything that my right hon. Friend or I can do in this matter, we shall certainly do it.

Photo of Mr Eric Ogden Mr Eric Ogden , Liverpool, West Derby

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind the fact that the vast majority of miners are engaged on a piecework basis and that piecework and safety are a direct contradiction in terms?