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MINERS' PROVIDENT FUND. ♦— CONFERENCE OF THE CENTRAL ASSOCIATION. PAPER BY MR. LOUIS TYLOR. The thirteenth annual conference of the Central Association for dealing with Distress caused by Accidents in Mines was held to-day at the Mansion House, the Lord Mayor of London (Alderman David Evans) presiding. There was a numerous attendance, including the Earl of Crawford. Sir John Llewelyn, Sir F. S. Powell, M.P., Mr. Tomlin- Son, M.P., Col. Blundell, and the Rev. Canon Kirby (Barnsley). The Lord Mayor, in opening the meeting, said that the object under notice at once appealed to their generosity and sympathy. Distress was a word, unfortunately, not unfamiliar to a Lord Mayor. Where the appeal was made to the Mansion House on account of a flood or famine or a fire, either at home or abroad, it was never made in vain. (Cheers.) This was not a new appeal. The association of the Mansion House with this organisation extended over sixteen years, while it was to be hoped that there would be no occasion to seek aid from the Mansion House during his year of office. If, unfortunately, an accident should occur, there need be no hesitation what- ever in appealing to him and there would be an immediate response. (Cheers.) In conclusion, I his Lordship referred to his recent visit to Wales, and expressed the pleasure with which he then received an address from Welsh miners. Lord Crawford, the president of the Association, moved the adoption of the report of the Council, I which showed that the total membership of the societies was 287,090. The total accumulated funds amounted to £423,ô1L and the revenue to £ 258,305. The number of widows in receipt of annuities was 2,384, the number of children 3,881. and the number of disablement cases dealt with during the year was 40.153. There had been in- creases of 18,705 in the number of members, and of £ 56,656 in the accumulated funds. The total number of deaths amongst the members in 1881 was 542, as compared with 71G in the previous year. With the exception of 1888 the mortality rate was lower than in any year since 1880. As the continuing results of efforts on the part of the societies to adjust their revenues to their liabilities, there had been a substantial increase m the revenues. The valuation reports of two of the largest societies recently issued illustrated what could be effected by determined efforts. To place the organisation on a sound financial basis there were the South Wales, and Lancashire, and Cheshire societies. An approxi- mate deficit in the funds of the former in 1885, amounting to £30,000, had, notwithstanding the disastrous explosions of Llanerch and Morfa, been reduced to £25,000, while with regard to the latter, a deficit of £53,000 had been reduced to £ 30,000. The Council had not been able to do anything on the question of re-insurance, interest in the subject having slackened no doubt because the public mind had not lately been excited by any great mining disaster. Mr. Louis Taylor had instituted an inquiry as to whether mining accident risks were diminishing. It had been pointed out that while some of the Government inspectors endeavoured to secure a return of the most serious cases of non- fatal accidents, the attempt was only very partial, and the particulars were not of practical use for purposes of investigating the rate of these casual- ties. Therefore it became necessary to look to the Miners' Permanent Funds for reliable data, and the collection of this information must have a very important bearing on the future working of the organisation. Parliamentary action during the last session affecting the interests of the miners' permanent funds, and the question of superannuation was also dealt with in the report, and the hope was expressed that the members of the Association would be satisfied with the record of the year as one of steady growth in numbers, and substantial progress in the direction of finan- cial stability. Lord Crawford aaid that the growth of the Association this year was as remark- able as last year, though possibly not so great. The increase of membership, although there had been no serious mining accident for about twelve months or more, was very satisfactory. They were advancing steadily towards a satisfactory state of finances, and upon this being reached he hoped they would be able to go into the question of the distribution of risks over the whole kingdom, instead of the risk of one country being held by itself. He expressed the opinion that the Society ought not to take up superannuation T as it could not be done without enormously increasing the taxation of members. Sir John Llewelyn seconded the reuort. which was adopted. -r Mr. Louis Tylor (the chairman of the Mon- mouthshire and South Wales Miners' Permanent Provident Society) read a paper on the question "Are mining acccident risks diminishing ? He said the subject was of vital importance to the great benefit societies, and was of national interest. Recognising this, he had decided to make a systematic inquiry, and to report to the Conference the conclusion at which he arrrived with regard especially to their risks in giving disabled relief. He had been able to form an estimate both of the variations in the disablement rate for the individual societies composing their Central Association, and also of the fluctuations in their total dia ablement experience. But how was be to give these results in such a way that the figures should tell their own stocyP. Now if they omitted the Midland district, which- did not deal with disablements, and if they pat the two Yorkshire societies together they had seven districts represented in., one- Central Association. So far at least as disablements in. their societies were concerned, they are decreasing in five out of the seven districts. He had prepared charts, which showed the lines of disablement rate for every hundred members. The lowest rate which any society had experienced7 in any year was nine dis- ablements for one hundred members, the highest experienced for any society was 33 disablements for 100 members; therefore, the scale was graduated from nine to 33, and' the line of pro- gress passing across the chart showed the ex- perience for each: year, while at the foot of every column was given the reading for the year therein represented. In Northumberland and Durham the rate of disablements in their society had fallen from 18*4 per cent. in 1879 to 14-7 per cent. in 1891 in North-Staffordshire from 17'2 to 9.5 in Lancashire and; Cheshire from 19-2 to lfi-3 while in the West Riding of Yorkshire the rate of disablement had risen from 15'4 in 1871 to 15-9 in 1391. In North Wales the disablement rate had decreased from Ji5'5, in 1879 to 12-4 per cent. in 1891; in the Midland- counties the rate had been exceptional, haviing risen from 16-9 per cent. in 1880 to 19-2 per cent, in in 1891 in Monmouth- shire and South Wales the rate of disablement had decreased from 17v5 per cent. in 1882 to 14-9 per cent. in 1891. There our calculations, however, had been vitiated' by the abnormal experience of initiating the society. The combined ex- perience of all oar societies together as corrected proved that the general rate of disablement had fallen from 1S.-1 for every 100 members in 1879 to 15.0' for every 100 members in 1891. In other words, where at the formation of the Central Association they had to afford annual relief to six disabled persons, they now had only five disabled persons to provide for. Satisfactory as they might deem this diminution in the risks to which their societies were exposed in respect of disablements, they must remember that they were only Insurance Associations, and that some other causes than actual diminution of danger might have operated so as to lessen the claims upon their funds. A diminution of relief pay might have lessened the temptation to get a few days' holiday in respect-, of some trifling accident which was only just enough to swear by, or an advance in wages might have aoted in the same direction by making work very much more attractive than play. Doubtless both these causes have had, and alway will have, their effect, but he did not think they could give the name of accidents to casualties which were so slight as to come and go with the rise or fall of benefits, or with a depressed or buoyant labour market.. There was no doubt that both in 1890 and 1891, wages were so good as to prove a great incentive to work in spite of trifling accidents. and it is also true that these two years show by far the most favourable rates of disablements. Sir Francis Powell moved a vote of thanks to Mr. Tylor for his paper, which Mr. Braybrook, Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies, seconded, and which was cordially adopted. On the motion of Mr. Tomlinson, seconded by Mr. N. R. Griffith (North Wales) the Earl of Craw- ford was re-elected president for the ensuing year, and other officers were appointed. The proceedings terminated with a vote of thanks to the Lord Mayor. At the close of the proceedings the address pre- sented to the Lord Mayor at Cardiff was exhibited in the salon, and the Welsh delegates present sang Land of my fathers."

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