Orders of the Day — Economic and Energy Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th December 1973.

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Photo of Mr Michael Grylls Mr Michael Grylls , Chertsey 12:00 am, 19th December 1973

Labour Members may say that that is not enough, and perhaps I would agree with them; but we on this side of the House are entitled to look back to what the miners in similar conditions were earning in 1970. I had the information in a recent answer to a Question. The equivalent figure in June 1970 was £29 a week. It cannot be said, therefore, that the Government have ground down the miners. Indeed, I think they have done them pretty well.

Under the current offer a totally unskilled boy of 19 who never goes underground or does night shifts can earn £30 a week. Again, that is not unreasonable.

I think everybody would probably agree that in the past miners have been underpaid. Many people would say that they are still underpaid today. But this Government have made a major contribution to ensuring that the miners have caught up and passed many other sections of industrial workers. Indeed, the figures of those coming back into the mining industry are encouraging. In 1973 there were 5,489 re-entrants.