18 JUNE 1948, Page 18


Sta,—Your correspondent, Col. Minshall, asks me to explain the statement appearing in Report to the Nation No. 17, that: " Output per manshift is lower than pre-war though there are more and better machines." This is a general statement, and may be taken as -referring to a number of years before the war, but the fact remains that in 1938, the last full work- ing year before the war began, output per man at the coalface reached the then record average of 2.90 tons, and in the first quarter of 1948 it was 2.91 tons. The figure for 1938. published in the Monthly Digest of Statistics is 3.00 tons and, as is explained in a footnote, is computed on a pre-war basis. For comparison with current figures it should be assessed on the new basis, which gives 2.90 tons.

The figure for coalface output has been deliberately chosen for com- parison purposes because it is at the coalface that increasing individual output matters most. Overall output, at 1.10 tons for the first quarter of this year, is still below the 1938 figure of 1.14, but here it must be borne in mind that the current figure is considerably " watered down " by the large and, at present, unprofitable number of fresh men and boys under- going their initial training. For the first time since 1944 the downward trend of man-power in the coal industry has been reversed ; and since Vesting Day, seventeen months ago, 130,000 have joined the mines.—

Director of Public Relations.

National Coal Board, Hobart House, Grosvenor Place, S.W.I.