HC Deb 18 January 1940 vol 356 c221
53. Mr. T. Smith

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many agricultural wages committees have increased wages since August last; and how many awards are up to £2 per week minimum for a male adult worker?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

Since August last, 41 of the 47 agricultural wages committees in England and Wales have increased the minimum rates of wages in force in their areas, and five others have given notice of proposals to make increases. A minimum weekly wage of 40s. or more is applicable to ordinary adult male workers in three areas.

Mr. Smith

Can the Minister say what excuse these agricultural workers committees have given for not increasing wages in those areas and does he not think, now there is such a small number drawing 40s. a week, that it is rather a sad reflection on the Government's agricultural policy?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I am afraid the fixing of wages is in the hands of the county committees. One county committee which has not increased wages since August was Gloucestershire, which, however, in July issued a proposal to increase the minimum rates and on 9th September finally decided on the proposed increases which became effective as from 24th September. The Committee are meeting to consider again the minimum rates in its area on 6th February.

Mr. T. Williams

When is the National Farmers' Union likely to agree to the establishment of a central wages board?