asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the reasons for the decline in the output of coal per man-shift worked at the coal face since his Department was established?
The output per man-shift worked at the coal face improved considerably following the establishment of my Department and was well maintained relatively to the preceding year until the early summer of this year. It is impossible, by way of question and answer, to give the reasons for the recent decline, but I would refer my hon. Friend to the statements made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and myself during the recent Debate on coal.
Does my right hon. and gallant Friend admit that in fact the output per man is less now than when he took office?
I could not admit that unless I go further and say that it has improved considerably over the three quarters following upon the quarter in which the Ministry was formed. At this moment it is only very slightly below what it was at the start.