HC Deb 04 December 1906 vol 166 cc764-5
MR. O'GRADY (Leeds, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Edinburgh Town Council instructed its head gardener to apply to the local distress committee under the Unemployed Workmen's Act of 1905 for extra hands to keep the public gardens in proper order, and that the distress committee paid one-half of the wages of men supplied and the corporation the other half; whether he is aware that the Edinburgh Trades and Labour Council have objected to this action, on the grounds that it is illegal to relieve the rates by paying to a public body half the wages of men employed to perform useful and necessary labour; and, if so, whether any steps will be taken to prevent this and other public bodies so using the Act?


The particulars stated by the hon. Member are materially correct. The town council had in view solely the assistance of several deserving men out of employment who had registered their names with the distress committee; but for this reason, the work in the gardens would not have been undertaken at the time. The proportion of the wages to be paid by distress committees in such circumstances is a matter for arrangement between the parties concerned. There does not appear to have been any illegal action in this case, and I do not, therefore, propose to interfere. These payments have been made out of funds contributed privately, but in future where the destination of monies voted by Parliament is concerned no payments will be sanctioned which involve relief of the rates.

MR. WARD (Stoke-upon-Trent)

Were these men employed full time on half wages?


I have given the House all the information I have.