HC Deb 24 June 1935 vol 303 cc799-800
34. Mr. CROSS

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that cotton weavers working full time on two looms at normal wage rates may earn less than would be payable to them in benefit or assistance allowances if unemployed, and that the Unemployment Assistance Board cannot grant allowances in supplementation of wages in any such cases; and whether he will introduce legislation to enable the Board to grant such allowances in cases where the Board is satisfied that the working of less than the normal complement of looms cannot reasonably be avoided by the manufacturer?

Lieut.-Colonel MUIRHEAD

I am aware of the situation to which the question refers, but I am afraid that my right hon. Friend could not support a proposal of the kind which my hon. Friend indicates.


In view of the fact that the wages paid in some cases in the textile industry of Lancashire to adult men working a full week amount to less than public assistance, will the Government be good enough to try to do something, if it cannot provide public assistance to enhance wages, to get the employers to pay such a wage that it will not be necessary for the men to go to public assistance?

Lieut.-Colonel MUIRHEAD

We are, of course, anxious that the men should receive as high wages as possible, but the question of subsidising wages raises difficulties of which the hon. Member is aware.


Is it not possible for the Ministry of Labour to make representations to the employers in the textile industry of Lancashire to see that they do not pay such wages that it is necessary to supplement them with public assistance?


Is it not a fact that these are not really full wages, and that the position is that these people are doing half-work, and not full work, but are occupying full time over it?


Would my hon. and gallant Friend take into consideration the fact that this affects dependants' allowances as well as the others?

Lieut.-Colonel MUIRHEAD

I will take note of that statement.

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