HC Deb 01 April 1943 vol 388 cc443-5
Mr. Bevin

I beg to move, in page 8, line 3, at the end, to insert "clear of all deductions."

Sir H. Williams

Perhaps this point came up yesterday and if so I apologise, but what are included in the term "deductions"? Would they include, say, Red Cross subscriptions?

The Solicitor-General

That will be found in Sub-section (1) of the Clause.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

Rear-Admiral Beamish (Lewes)

I had put down an Amendment designed to free wages from any association with tips, and I should like to give my impression of what we are doing in passing this Clause. I have had an opportunity of looking carefully at the statements made yesterday by the Parliamentary Secretary when we had a long discussion on tipping. It seems clear, after reading Clause 9 and from what was said yesterday, that the Minister is determined to perpetuate the system of tipping, by which the public pay a considerable part of the wages of the workers in the catering industry. In my view—I still hold it—wages should not be imperilled by tips, whichever of the three forms that have been discussed tips may take. I take a serious view of this matter, because, so far as I know, never before have tips, or voluntary gifts, or whatever you like to call them, been enshrined or included in an Act of Parliament, and we are now perpetuating a system which, according to the impression I gained yesterday, was greatly deplored on all sides of the Committee. Hardly a speech has been made to-day on the subject of wages which has not stressed the point that what we are seeking to do in this Bill is to make sure that the standard of wages is such that the workers will have no grumbles and that the public should therefore be able to avoid having to pay tips. I understand that one form of tipping is what is called the tronc system. I do not want to go into details—]

The Chairman

I must remind the hon. and gallant Gentleman that we had a very long discussion on the subject of tipping, and it would not be in Order to go over it again.

Rear-Admiral Beamish

I realise that that would be out of Order, but I would like to say this, which I do not think is out of Order: The way in which prize money used to be paid in the Navy was that it was poured through a ladder, and any money which stopped on the rungs of the ladder was paid to the men and the remainder was paid to the officers. I wish to put in my protest and to say that if we pass the Clause as it stands, we are going to perpetuate tipping in all three forms. I think that tipping is crude, unjust, unequal in its incidence, and undemocratic, and we are giving legal sanction to a custom which has never before been put into an Act of Parliament. Therefore, we should pause before we say "Aye" to this Clause, because in many ways it appears to be an irrevocable step and not a reform but an irretrievable recession, something which is contrary to the very object we set out to achieve. The Minister, who told us yesterday that he hated tipping, is now underpinning it and making it an absolute fixture for all time. If I were the Minister, I should not like to have that thought on my conscience.

Sir H. Williams

Let us face the fact that if it was included in the Ten Commandments, and we made yet an Eleventh Commandment, to abolish tipping, and if we passed 4,000 Acts of Parliament a year prohibiting tipping, people who wanted special services would continue to give tips. Let us face the fact that tipping exists and regulate it, rather than pretend that we can abolish it when we cannot. You might as well pass Acts of Parliament prohibiting betting and gambling; people would go on doing it.

Rear-Admiral Beamish

Gambling and that sort of enjoyment have nothing to do with conditions of work. Here we are concerned with the welfare of the workers.

Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.