Toilets (Pits)

Oral Answers to Questions — Energy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th July 1989.

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Photo of Mr Harry Barnes Mr Harry Barnes , North East Derbyshire 12:00 am, 24th July 1989

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is the total increase in underground toilet facilities in British Coal pits in the last year.

Photo of Michael Spicer Michael Spicer Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Energy)

This is a matter for British Coal, which has between two and six lavatories in each of its collieries.

Photo of Mr Harry Barnes Mr Harry Barnes , North East Derbyshire

The Minister will be aware that the Employment Act 1989 means that many women may be obliged to work down the pit or lose benefit. In that event, should there not be adequate toilet facilities in the pits? It is clear from the Minister's answer that such facilities are often primitive, inadequate or some considerable distance from the work face.

Photo of Michael Spicer Michael Spicer Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Energy)

I am aware of the hon. Gentleman's interest in this matter because of his membership of the Standing Committee that discussed the Employment Bill. I have read the Committee's reports. I assure him that the two to six lavatories per pit could easily be converted for use by women. As to why existing ones are not used, I invite the hon. Gentleman to accompany me on my next visit to the pits and we can endeavour to find out why more miners do not use the lavatories that are provided for them.