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Volume 486: debated on Monday 9 April 1951

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asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will give the coal production figures for the years 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1950, respectively.

The deep-mined production of coal during the last five years has been as follows: 1946, 181 million tons; 1947, 187 million tons; 1948, 197 million tons; 1949, 202.6 million tons; 1950, 204.1 million tons.

Is the Minister aware that these figures are evidence of a grand contribution by, and a great credit to, the miners?

Will the right hon. Gentleman circulate in HANSARD figures showing the extent to which production has fallen short of his Department's estimate?

Is the Minister aware that the 1950 figure for deep-mined coal is still 25 million tons less than in 1939?

Yes, but it is 30 million tons more than in 1945, when the Coal Board found the industry in chaos and faced with great difficulties.

Has my right hon. Friend yet received any reply from the miners to the good wishes and congratulations of the right hon. Member for King's Norton (Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd)?

Is it not a fact that, with the same numbers employed and with far more mechanisation, we obtained less deep-mined coal in 1950 than in 1941 and can the Minister say why that is so?

1941 was the crisis of the war, and the miners worked more shifts then than in any other year, and certainly more than I should desire that they should work in any peace-time year. Moreover, the mechanisation since 1947, while considerable, is only beginning to touch the fringe of what is required.

Can the Minister say how the figures compare with those for the years after Waterloo?