§ 61. Mr. MAXTON
asked the Minister of Labour on what grounds he has refused to sanction a grant to the Norwich city council under the unemployment grants scheme unless the council agree to a reduction of the wages and working conditions paid by the council?
A grant has not been refused. It was sanctioned in January of last year on certain conditions including conditions as to the rates of wages to be paid. Certain points arising as regards these latter conditions have been under discussion between the Unemployment Grants Committee and the council, and I understand that an early settlement may be expected.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Is it the case that the Norwich council can only get a settlement of this matter with the hon. Gentleman's Department on condition that they reduce wages and lower working conditions generally?
I would require to go far beyond the limits of the answer to a 444 supplementary question in order to explain the whole situation, but, briefly, the difficulty arises owing to the fact that Norwich is, I understand, not classified. The question is whether for wage rate purposes it is in Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3.
§ Sir A. M. SAMUEL
Will the hon. Gentleman take steps to inform the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) that it would be better for him to ascertain the exact facts before putting down questions dealing with Norwich?
§ Mr. BUCHANAN
Is it not a fact that the Grants Committee refused the Norwich council a grant on the ground that they were not in favour of the wage rates and conditions applying to certain classes of workers; and are we to take it that it is a Government policy now that wages must be reduced?
As I have said in my main reply, it is not a fact that a grant has been refused. The grant was made in January.
§ Mr. MAXTON
May I ask the question in this form? Is it the case that up till now the grant has not been passed on the ground that the Norwich council wages and conditions of labour are too generous for the Ministry of Labour?