HC Deb 07 May 1924 vol 173 cc418-9
44. Mr. SIMON

also asked the Minister of Health the average percentage increase in the present rates of wages of skilled and unskilled labour in the building industry over the rates in 1913, and in the present prices of the materials used in building workmen's houses over the 1913 prices?


The average increase in the present prices of the materials used in building workmen's houses over the prices ruling at the end of 1913 is estimated to be about 85 per cent. As regards the rates of labour, the percentage increase varies in different localities. The reply will, therefore, involve a statistical table and be somewhat long, and I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that hundreds of building trade workers in London last week earned less than £1 a week owing to wet weather?


That statement is not correct.


Is it not the case that there has been a variation in the increase in the cost of building materials in various localities, and if the right hon. Gentleman can give an average percentage increase for building materials, what is to prevent him from giving the average increase in building trade wages?


The price of building materials does not vary to the same extent in localities as do the wages paid to the workers.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir J. NALL

Is it not a fact that different materials vary very considerably?

Viscount WOLMER

Is it not a fact that the right hon. Gentleman has the average figures there, and cannot he give them to the House?


It is not a fact, and I do not think that suggestion was justified.

Following is the reply:

The increases in the rates of wages of building trade operatives have varied in different districts and in different occu-

Town. Percentage increases in hourly rates of wages between the end of 1913 and 7th May, 1924.
Bricklayers. Carpenters and Joiners. Painters. Labourers.
London 74 74 100 100
Newcastle 95 95 117 119
Manchester 86 86 105 127
Birmingham 95 95 117 111
Derby 105 117 144 146
Lincoln 129 129 144 168
Chatham 89 100 143 132
Reading 100 100 143 132
Southampton 79 79 100 96
Cardiff 105 105 129 127

As the normal weekly working hours have been reduced since 1913, the percentage increases in weekly full-time rates of wages are less than those in hourly rates of wages, given above, but the information available as to the number of hours worked is insufficient to enable precise percentages of increase in weekly wages to be calculated.