asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why Mr. Arthur Jones, a farmer, and several miners, who are not fit to work in the mines, are prevented from working the easily accessible coal on 30 acres at Ashenough Farm, Talke, Stoke-on-Trent?
The site is believed to contain a considerable tonnage of coal which could be worked by open-cast methods and has already been earmarked by the Ministry of Works for future operations.
Is it not a fact that these men have wanted for some time to work this coal; who has prevented them from doing so? Men not fit for work in the mines are eager to work at getting this coal.
My hon. Friend will be aware that the Ministry of Works, who are responsible for the working of these open-cast sites, have been making borings for some considerable time, and this is one of the sites which in their opinion they will be able to work.
Will the men mentioned in the Question be given preference when work is begun?
We will certainly look into that.