25 SEPTEMBER 1942, Page 2

The Coal Crisis

For some time propaganda has been at full blast to make the country fuel-conscious, but until the cold of autumn makes itself felt we shall not know how far voluntary saving is likely to effect economy. In a speech at Birmingham last Monday, Major Lloyd George pointed out that it will need the combined efforts of the producer, the domestic Consumer, and the industrial consumer to close the gap between the production of coal and the demand for it—a gap which is no less than 25o,000 tons a week. That is a grave deficit. Unless it is made up by all the means available, production in essential war-industry will be held up. It remains to be seen whether the economy target aimed at will be reached by voluntary

effort at home ; if it is not, then the Ministry is committed rationing. But this alone will not be enough. Some further sa can be and has already been made by various reductions in the u of lighting, heating and power in industry. But there is no gett away from the fact that by some means production must be increa at the source. Part of Major Lloyd George's task is to apply drive within the industry to secure such speeding-up as may be attaine by developing outcrop mining, dealing with absenteeism and re organisation in detail—fundamental reorganisation will not produ results in time. But the Government ought never to have turned its back upon proposals of large-scale release of young, skilled miner from the Services, and even now ought to face this expedient, as the only complete solvents of a grave crisis which ought nev to have been allowed to arise. The situation is such that consumers for their part, must economise, and that there must also be great production in the mines.