Mr Frederick Erroll: I beg to move, That the Iron and Steel (Compensation to Officers and Servants) (Amendment) Regulations, 1964, a draft of which was laid before this House on 25th March, be approved. These Regulations amend the Iron and Steel (Compensation to Officers and Servants) (No. 2) Regulations, 1953. Those Regulations provided for the payment of compensation by the Iron and Steel Holding and...
Mr Frederick Erroll: I appreciate very much what has been said by hon. Members about these Regulations, having been introduced. I felt that when representations were made to me it was only right and in the interests of equity that amending Regulations should be submitted to Parliament. Whether the pressure came from the unions or the employers is not a matter into which we need go this evening. All parts of the...
Mr Frederick Erroll: I do not think that that is a specific responsibility of I.S.H.R.A. It is either for the management or the representatives of the workers to look at the Regulations and see where their rights might lie.
Mr Frederick Erroll: I do not think so, because it is not the job of groups of people, whether they be employers or the Government, or others, to tell people gratuitously what their rights may be. It is for the individuals, through their own organisations—in this case, their unions—to be aware of their rights. I am sure that in view of the representations made to me about the desirability of extending these...
Mr Frederick Erroll: It is not a case of having obtained compensation. I have made careful inquiries, and while it is always difficult to be able to prove a negative, I am told that nobody has even applied for compensation under these Regulations. That is the information I have been given.
Mr Frederick Erroll: I think that this shows the extreme success of the denationalisation process—that compensation has been so generous and fair that nobody has felt it necessary to take advantage of the provision of these Regulations to apply for compensation to I.S.H.R.A. because they have been very well satisfied with the compensation that has been provided by the employers. These new draft Regulations...
Mr Frederick Erroll: Of course, it must be clearly understood that the claim to compensation is based upon what is called the relevant event, namely denationalisation, and not some other act, which would have occurred whether the company had been denationalised or not. It is important to establish that. This short debate has been useful in illuminating a small but important facet of the denationalisation...
Mr Frederick Erroll: I am asking the Chairman of the National Coal Board to write to the right hon. Member about this.
Mr Frederick Erroll: I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his constructive supplementary question. There is very close liaison between the National Coal Board and my former Department regarding pit closures and the need to bring in industries to take the place of pits which have been closed.
Mr Frederick Erroll: That is very straightforward. The right hon. Gentleman should read the letter.
Mr Frederick Erroll: The Chairman keeps me regularly informed of the Board's thinking on prices, and I understand that its proposals for reductions, which are being worked out, will be confined to coking coal. Although they will benefit the steel industry in Scotland as elsewhere, the Chairman has made it clear that he sees no early prospect of a general reduction in Scottish coal prices.
Mr Frederick Erroll: There is no evidence to show that selective prices of coal in Scotland have deterred any industrialists from going north of the Border. The fact remains that the Scottish Division is still not paying its way. I am glad to endorse the views of the Chairman of the National Coal Board on his price policy.
Mr Frederick Erroll: I can only repeat that I am not aware of what is suggested in the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question. I shall certainly ensure that his views are brought to the notice of my successor at the Board of Trade.
Mr Frederick Erroll: The hon. Gentleman should realise that English coal fields are rather tired of subsidising Scottish coal fields.
Mr Frederick Erroll: I know that industry is going to Scotland. I also thought that Scotsmen were not afraid of the truth.
Mr Frederick Erroll: I was talking of the Division as a whole in Scotland. Of course, there has been a selective price increase in the North-West as well, and for the same reason.
Mr Frederick Erroll: I do not think that they could afford to do so.
Mr Frederick Erroll: I am anxious to introduce the Bill as soon as possible, but it will be a long and complicated Measure and I doubt that it would be possible to find Parliamentary time in this Session.
Mr Frederick Erroll: My Department has had a good ration this Session. Two Bills are already Acts. I suggest that the hon. Gentleman should address his questions about the allocation of time for the remainder of the Session to my right hon. and learned Friend the Leader of the House.
Mr Frederick Erroll: No; we are considering attractive anticlines at Huyton.