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Mining Subsidence (Report)

Volume 464: debated on Monday 9 May 1949

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he can now state when legislation will be introduced to implement the main findings of the Report on Mining Subsidence or alternatively, in view of the urgency of the matter, if he will consider introducing a short preliminary Measure dealing with compensation for damage done to cottage property.

I regret I am not yet in a position to add to the reply given to my hon. Friend on 24th February last. The proposals raise many important issues which are the concern of several Govern- ment Departments, as well as the National Coal Board, and some delay is inevitable before the Government can reach a decision on the Report and the action to be taken as a result of it.

Has the Minister considered the suggestion in the second part of the Question?

Yes, Sir, but I do not think it would be practicable to introduce separate legislation dealing with that point, and in any case the exact criteria to be applied in the matter of claiming compensation is one of the points which must be most carefully looked into.

In that case, is the Minister aware that three months ago the answer he has now given was reasonably satisfactory, but that the people living in the cottages there are being subjected to the same treatment as if they were under enemy bombardment, and that they are no longer satisfied with that answer? We really must ask for a hasty decision.

I quite appreciate my hon. Friend's concern in this matter, which I share, but I would ask her to be a little patient. This is a very difficult problem into which we must go carefully before we reach a decision.

Would the Minister kindly tell us whether an opportunity will be provided for the House to discuss the Report? We agree that there are many complications and that might be a profitable procedure.

Is the Minister aware that we had an understanding from his predecessor in 1946 that legislation affecting compensation for mining subsidence would be brought before this House before the end of 1949?

I am not aware of any such promise being given. I should be very surprised if, in fact, it were given.