HC Deb 29 June 1938 vol 337 cc1907-8
64. Mr. Paling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what grounds a number of Colonial Governments have decided that up to the present it has not been found necessary to exercise the powers permitting the fixing of minimum wages for workers employed in any particular trade or profession?

Mr. M. MacDonald

As the House was informed on 14th December last, in reply to a question by the hon. Member for Hemsworth (Mr. G. Griffiths) the powers referred to have actually been exercised in some 10 different Dependencies. I can only say generally that elsewhere the Governors have reported that prevailing conditions are such that they have not considered it necessary to exercise their powers.

Mr. Paling

But is the right hon. Gentleman aware that practically as many —or more—Dependencies have not put it into operation as have done so, and that in those Dependencies where it is not in operation wages are shockingly low, being 2d. or 3d. a day? If that is so, why on earth is it not put into operation?

Mr. MacDonald

I do not think I can add to what I have said, that we will keep the situation under review.

Mr. Paling

Will the right hon. Member see that it is put into operation in the other Dependencies with the object of raising wages?

Mr. MacDonald

We are following up the recent inquiry which was made, and in due course I will have a review made.

Mr. G. Griffiths

Did not the right hon. Gentleman promise me that he would make inquiries into this matter, and was that not last Christmas, seven months ago?