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.
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?
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.