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Manpower, Scotland

Volume 645: debated on Monday 24 July 1961

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asked the Minister of Power to what extent there is now a shortage of manpower in the coal mines of Scotland; and what success has been achieved in recruitment of young workers to the mining industry in Scotland.

Individual pits may occasionally be short, particularly of skilled craftsmen. In the first 27 weeks of the year, the National Coal Board recruited 1,055 juveniles, compared with 878 in the same period last year.

Can the Minister tell us whether there is still a shortage and whether he proposes to carry on a similar recruiting drive to attract young men into the mines as the Secretary of State for War is doing to attract them into the Army?

There is a shortage, as I have said in my answer, but I do not think the hon. Gentleman need yet be unduly depressed by the slow results flowing from his recruitment campaign at Eton College last February. There may be results in time.

In all areas the position of craftsmen is difficult, and Scotland is no exception, but frankly the manpower situation in Scotland causes me rather less anxiety than the manpower position in other parts of the country.

Can the Minister say to what extent craftsmen are leaving the mining industry?

I could not without notice. If the hon. Gentleman will put down a Question I will do my best to answer it, but the craftsman position is causing anxiety.