HC Deb 03 March 1921 vol 138 c2002
33. Captain BROWN

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that great quantities of work are available in country districts; that those requiring work are prevented from taking this work owing to the inelasticity of the regulations of the Wages Board; and if he will direct that modifications be made in the regulations, with a view to removing this present cause of unemployment?

Lieut.-Colonel Sir J. GILMOUR

The Orders of the Agricultural Wages Board relate only to employment in agriculture as denned by the Corn Production Act. The amount of ordinary agricultural work available is not larger than usual at this time of year, but it is understood that in certain parts of the country the reclamation or improvement of land has been undertaken with the view of providing additional employment. Whether any such operations come within the statutory definition of employment in agriculture can only be decided by reference to the circumstances of the case, and if my hon. Friend will supply me with particulars of any case which he has in mind, I shall be glad to submit the facts to the Agricultural Wages Board for their consideration. As my hon. Friend is aware, exemption from the operation of the minimum rates of wages can only be given in accordance with the provisions of Section 5 (3) of the Corn Production Act, and does not rest in the discretion of the Minister or of the Agricultural Wages Board.

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