I should like to add briefly my note of concern to those already voiced by my colleagues from Coventry. I appreciate that there is a clash of national interest in the matter before the House tonight. We need coal in ever-greater quantities. However, it is equally true that the activities of the companies referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North-West (Mr. Edelman) are also in the national interest.
I first became involved in this subject as the city councillor for the area referred co by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North-West. I had to initiate long-drawn-out negotiations at regular intervals with the National Coal Board to make good in some cases the severe damage done to hundreds of houses in the area—damage which included cracks in walls, doors that would not open and windows that were stuck.
Although my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Cant) said that the board was dynamic, I first had to prise it loose from the idea that council tenants in Coventry had not got beyond the idea that their living rooms were white-washed. That is where we started and at regular intervals this had to be examined again and again.
The workings have now extended under my constituency and I believe that there is little point in re-activating and re-tooling companies such as Alfred Herbert if, as a result of other work by the National Coal Board, they are prevented from getting on with the work that is so urgently needed by machine tool firms.
It should also be noted that because of the delicacy of work done at one company the city council reconsidered a road scheme because it was felt that the vibrations from vehicles would upset the work being done. Here we have a situation in which the local authority has already had extensive trouble over these matters and in which industry is constantly concerned about it. If the Minister cannot reconsider this situation, I shall have no option but to join my colleauges in the Lobby to vote against the motion.