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Miners (Certificates Of Competency)

Volume 644: debated on Monday 10 July 1961

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23.

asked the Minister of Power what steps he proposes to take to guarantee equal opportunity to all mine workers to obtain a first class certificate in mine management or second class certificate in mine management.

The opportunity to obtain first or second class certificates of competency is open to all who can reach the standards required.

Is the Minister trying to suggest that these new examinations will make the mines safer, or more prolific? Apart from that, is he quite sure that this statutory body is independent and will give the right to every mine worker to take the necessary qualifying examinations?

What the hon. Member has in mind is the fact that the Mining Qualifications Board, which is appointed by the Minister and is statutorily responsible for determining standards, announced in 1957 its intention after the end of 1961 to require certain minimum academic qualifications, not hitherto obligatory, from all men wishing to obtain certificates. To give effect to its decision, the Board must change the existing statutory rules and submit them to the Minister for approval. The Minister's approval has not yet been sought.

I draw the hon. Member's attention to the fact that no proposals are yet before the Minister. He will consider all aspects and the views of many parties before he decides whether to allow the regulations to be altered.

On a point of order. In view of the uncompromising attitude of the Minister, I wish to avail myself of the first opportunity to raise this matter on the Adjournment.