§ MR. SAUNDERS
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to a Memorandum of Agreement, published in The Weekly Times and Echo of 4th June last, between a farmer and a labourer in East Wilts, binding the servant to be always at his work at all hours and times required in his capacity of cowman and to milk 10 cows or more at each milking for 7s. per week, subject to fines of 2d. per quarter of an hour for being late in the morning or otherwise absent, and 2s. 6d. for any cow found to be only partially milked; and will he state whether such fines are a violation of the Truck Act or otherwise illegal; and, if so, will he ascertain if such agreements are general in East Wilts, and adopt measures to stop the practice?
§ MR. ASQUITH
My attention has been called to the Memorandum of Agreement referred to. The effect of a recent decision ("Hewlett v. Allen") is, I am advised, not that fines are illegal, but that deductions from wages on account of fines are not authorised, and, therefore, are prohibited by the Truck Act. I do not think there is any occasion for me to make any further inquiry into the matter.