§ 49. Mr. WHITELEY
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that 918 there are 11 men employed on a drainage scheme at Causey, Tanfield, County Durham, who are receiving 9½d. per hour and are working nine hours per day; and whether he will have inquiries made with a view to the recognised wages and conditions for this class of labour being put into operation?
Yes, Sir, this scheme is one of a number of schemes the primary object of which is the relief of unemployment among agricultural workers and the conditions laid clown do not permit, except in exceptional circumstances, of the payment to workers on such a scheme of a wage in excess of that paid to agricultural workers in the neighbourhood. I am not aware of any exceptional circumstances that would justify the wage. being raised in this particular case.
I have not the point of the hours particularly in my mind. My attention was more directed to the rate of pay, but I will make further inquiries into the question of hours and communicate with the hon. Gentleman. As a matter of fact, I think the scheme is almost concluded.
§ Mr. J. JONES
is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a Board dealing with this matter, the Civil Engineering and Constructional Board, and they have fixed a rate of wages in excess of the rate being paid for this job, and if these men are doing navvies' work, why should they not be paid navvies' rate of wages?
As I have pointed out to the hon. Gentleman, these men are unemployed agricultural labourers.
Mr. W. M. ADAMSON
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the case of Cambridge there is a subsistence allowance over and above the rate of wages?
§ Mr. J. JONES
May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman will make inquiries into these matters? These men are work- 919 ing under conditions dominated by an Industrial Board established by Government Departments.