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Miners' Wages

Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 28 June 1922

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asked the Secretary for Mines if he is aware that miners' wages are only 20 per cent. above 1914 wages, or one-fifth; that the cost of living is 80 per cent., or four-fifths, above 1914 prices; that miners' wages depend on the selling price of coal less the expenses of the trade: and that this means a further reduction of miners' wages; and will he say what course the Government intend to take to meet the cases of such reductions?

On the first two parts of the question I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given on the 26th June to the hon. and gallant Member for Farnworth, and on the last part to the answer given on the 27th June to the hon. Member for Abertillery. A reduction in the pithead price of coal does not necessarily mean a reduction in the men's weekly earnings. Apart from the fact that many miners are now, unfortunately, on the guaranteed minimum, it is possible that a reduction in price may lead to increased trade, and so to more regular working and a reduction in cost per ton.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the children of these miners are not getting enough food, and will he call on the nation that has to pay in the future through the weakness of its men and its women to take action?

Will the right hon. Gentleman have some inquiry made as to how it is that the miners cannot get a sufficient wage, the owners cannot earn a profit, and yet the price of coal is so high that industries cannot he re-established?

I cannot agree as to an inquiry. I regret very much what the hon. Member has told me, but I have no power to grant any money.

Is this the reward for those left behind by the men who laid down their lives on the battlefield?