At the end of 1960 there were 144 full-time mines inspectors; at the end of 1961, 149 inspectors; at the end of 1962, 1963 and 1964, 153 inspectors. There has been no change in 1965.
Does my hon. Friend realise that there are rather few members of the mining inspectorate, and would he consider having discussions with the Chairman of the Coal Board and representatives of the N.U.M. to try to find some solution that will enable more inspectors to be engaged by the Board, so ensuring that every pit can be inspected more frequently during the year?
The concentration of coal production in a smaller number of mines, particularly by the Board, and the reduction in the number of men employed have reduced the need for mines inspectors, but a competition is in progress to fill vacancies and the inspectorate is expected to be up to full strength in the near future.
Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that it is not a question wholly of having more inspectors but of the mineworkers themselves obeying the regulations and measures already in force?