4 JANUARY 1930, Page 7

The Coal Industry It is admitted, not only in the

Labour Party, that the fireworks "and the voting in Parliament on the Coal Bill set up a smoke screen which has obscured the country's opinion of that Bill. Mr. Graham has lost no time in defining the Government's attitude towards Liberal criticisms.' On December 24th he issued to the Press a promise to hasten the amalgamation of mining concerns by reproducing the . machinery, provided in the Act of 1926 for the Railway and Canal Commissioners. In this way the worst features of the " quota " device, in so far as it bolsters up the uneconomic pits, should be eliminated. The Government recognize also that a time limit must be fixed for the operation of the marketing schemes. The need to protect the community against excessive prices—though it is now generally agreed that coal in relation to other commodities has been too cheap to be Met by the Consumer S Council which the Gciverrunent had already proMised. Good may yet come out of evil now that the'Government have recognized how much' support- there' is for a bolder recirganizatioa of the ihdustry. Even now Some of the owners are still complaining of Government "interference." They attri- bute their own troubles to the Government's hours pledge, ignoring the facts that nowadays politics and economics cannot be separated into watertight compartments and that Mr. Baldwin plunged the industry into the political arena by his Hours Act, which expires in any case in July, 1931. • * *