§ MR. J. WARD (Stoke-on-Trent)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to a volume of standard rates of wages in the kingdom, published by the Labour Department of the Board of Trade on 1st October, 1906, which on page 19 declares the rates of wages for the Ipswich district, as supplied by the National Federation of Master Builders, are 5d. and 5½. per hour; and whether, in view of this statement upon the subject, he will take such action as may be necessary to compel the contractors at the Artillery Barracks, Ipswich, to pay such rates.
§ MR. HALDANE
My attention has been called to the statement of standard rates referred to, and it was partly in view of that statement that I have had a special inquiry made, as mentioned in my reply to the hon. Member on the 26th ultimo.† The result, however, of the investigation and of conference with the Board of Trade has been to show that varying rates of wages are at the present time current in the Ipswich district; and it does not appear that the contractors referred to, in paying the labourers 4½d. an hour, are infringing the clause of their contract requring them to pay the rate current in the district. The result of the investigation made is to leave doubtful the Answer to the Question whether there is in point of fact a rate current in the district for competent workmen. I propose, therefore, to ask the Board of Trade to make an independent inquiry.