HC Deb 25 April 1907 vol 173 cc246-9
MR. BOWERMAN (Deptford)

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether, with regard to the rates of overtime pay of Customs watchers, he can say what is the rate of overtime paid to employees in the Post Office, His Majesty's Stationery Office, and other Government Departments in London, who are in receipt of 24s.per week; whether there are any other Government employees in London getting 24s. per week, except the Customs watchers, who are paid at the same rate per hour for overtime as they are paid for their ordinary daily attendance; and whether he will consider the advisability of introducing the rate of 8d. per hour for

Belgium, as compared with Great Britain and Ireland.

(Answered by Sir Edward Strachey.) I presume that by the expression "under crops" my hon. friend means cultivated or farmed land, including permanent pasture. The Returns for the countries named are not strictly comparable owing to differences of classification, and in the case of France and Germany the annual Returns are not complete, and the latest years for which full figures are available are 1892 and 1900, respectively. Moreover the Returns for France and Germany include holdings of all sizes, while those for Belgium exclude holdings of less than one hectare and those for Great Britain exclude holdings of 1 acre or less. Subject to these qualifications the following table gives the information asked for. The area under crops and grass include as far as possible all arable land and all grass land, whether yielding a hay crop or used for grazing stock.

watchers who are employed at 24s. a week in London, so as to bring the overtime regulations in the Customs Department into line with that of other Government Departments in this respect.

(Answered by Mr. Runciman.) I do not think any useful purpose would be served by a detailed comparison of overtime rates such as the hon. Member suggests. The duties of the watchers are not comparable with those of the other classes referred to. As I stated in reply to the hon. Member on the 12th instant, the question has been considered, and the Board of Customs are unable to recommend an increase of the rate. The. Treasury, having regard to other recent concessions to the watchers, concur in that view.