§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he could see his way to suspend the alteration that he has lately made in the Fair Wages Clause in Admiralty shipbuilding contracts, until the House has had some opportunity of discussing and deciding the question at issue?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. G. J. GOSCHEN, St. George's,) Hanover Square
No, Sir. The wages clause in Admiralty shipbuilding contracts embodies verbatim the words of the Resolution of the House of Commons, and till the House of Commons comes to a different decision, I am not prepared to go beyond the scope of its 809 decision. The hon. Member has himself strenuously contended that the addition by the Admiralty of the words "current in the district," to the words of the Resolution, carries with it an obligation on the part of the Admiralty to take the scale of wages "current in the district" into account in the award of a contract. He was unable to persuade his own colleagues in the late Government to take the latter course, which I, like them, consider wholly inadmissible. The insertion of the words desired by the hon. Member would only be a restriction on London firms, preventing them from competing on equal terms with the rest of the country, to the injury of the industry on the Thames.