§ MR. SUMMERBELL (Sunderland)
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the tapeholders in the service of the Board of Trade only receive a maximum salary of £72 10s. per annum; that their work requires considerable skill and a general knowledge of the laws relating to tonnage; that they are exposed to risk in taking the necessary measurements, and, in case of injury, no compensation is paid; that when out of port they are only allowed 2s. for a day of ten hours and 6s. for a day and night of twenty-four hours; and, seeing that these men some time ago petitioned the Board of Trade in regard to the above-mentioned conditions of labour, will he state whether any action is contemplated having for its object an improvement in their working conditions.
(Answered by Mr. Lloyd-George.) The weekly wage of Board of Trade tape-holders rises to 28s. (£72 16s. per annum), and uniform is provided. Tapeholders perform their duties under the direction of a surveyor, and are not required to have a knowledge of the laws relating to tonnage. In the few instances where tapeholders have been injured whilst discharging their duties they have been granted full pay during their absence, and their medical expenses have been paid by the Department. The petition referred to has been before the Treasury, who, however, have not, so far, been able to sanction any alteration in the terms of employment of tapeholders.