HC Deb 06 June 1921 vol 142 cc1513-4
47. Colonel NEWMAN

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the changing conditions and continually falling prices, and the possibility of increased overhead charges to the traders necessitated by the new rates being passed on to the consumers in the shape of increased prices, and thus retarding a continuance in the fall of the cost of living, he will postpone for six months confirming the rates of wages proposed by the Grocery and Provision Trade Board?


asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that the state of trade in the grocery and provision trades, together with the fall of 48 points since November, 1920, in the cost of living, do not justify the recommendations made by the Grocery and Provision Trades Board in November last to the Ministry for confirmation; and will he, before confirma- tion, refer the recommendation back to the Trades Board for further consideration, in view of the fact that, if confirmed by the Ministry of Labour, it will lead to increased unemployment by the reduction of staff arising from increased working costs at a time of trade depression and difficulty?


My right hon. Friend is not yet in a position to arrive at a decision, and he has promised before doing so to receive personally representatives from certain of the interests affected. In considering the rates full regard will be had to the fall in the cost of living and to the probable effects of the rates upon employment.


asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the answer given by him on the 16th March to the effect that it was proposed to set up a trade board for the fish, poultry, rabbits, and game distributive trades, he can now state on what date the arrangements for setting up this board will be completed?


I regret that the establishment of this trade board has been somewhat delayed by the difficulty experienced in securing suitable representatives of the smaller towns and country districts. My hon. Friend will appreciate that it is essential to the success of a trade board, more particularly in a distributive trade, that adequate representation should be given to those districts as well as to the larger towns. I am not yet in a position to state definitely when the Board will be set up, but my hon. Friend may be assured that there will be no avoidable delay.