11. Miss WARD
asked the Secretary for Mines whether he has received any communication from the Central Council with regard to the amendment of Part I of the Coal Mines Act?
§ 19. Mr. ROBINSON
asked the Secretary for Mines whether he will inform the House of the decision arrived at by the Central Council under the coal marketing scheme in regard to the operation of inland and export quotas and the co-ordination of minimum prices; and whether he is prepared to make a statement as to the legislation which will be proposed to the House to give effect to these decisions?
§ Mr. E. BROWN
I have been informed in writing by the Central Council that at its meeting on the 10th May it was decided to make representations to the Board of Trade with a view to the making of Orders for the purpose of enabling amendments to be made to the Central Scheme to provide for the separation of quotas as between the inland and export trade and inter-district co-ordination of minimum prices. I must defer any statement as to legislation until I have seen the exact form of the representations, which I expect to have shortly.
§ Mr. GODFREY NICHOLSON
Can my hon. Friend say whether one or both of these recommendations had the necessary 85 per cent. Majority?
§ Mr. GEORGE HALL
Is the Minister also in communication with the Miners' Federation with regard to amendments of Part I of the Act?
§ Mr. SMITHERS
Is it not a fact that Part I of the Act is working detrimentally to the coal industry; will the Minister take into consideration the recommendation of the Central Council; and when will he be able to introduce legislation to meet the position?
§ Mr. DICKIE
Will the Government and the Minister in these negotiations keep in view the vital necessity of giving complete freedom of action to the export section of the industry?
§ 14. Mr. SMITHERS
asked the Secretary for Mines whether he will call a conference of coalowners in order to discuss with them what amendments are necessary to remedy the defects in the working of the Coal Mines Act which have emerged after three years' experience of the Act?
§ Mr. E. BROWN
No, Sir. The Central Council set up under the Coal Mines Act, 1930, is fully representative of all coalowners, and the power of initiating amendments rests with them.
§ Mr. SMITHERS
May I ask the Secretary for Mines whether it is a fact that certain quotas allocated by the Central Council are not being used but held up and not made available to the collieries which could and would use them; and is not this a restraint upon legitimate trade?
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Arising out of the answer which is to the effect that only mineowners can negotiate, cannot the Minister in pursuance of his duties see that the Miners' Federation which represents the men, who are the human lives in the industry, should have some say in any amendments connected with the Act?