HC Deb 10 February 1944 vol 396 cc1900-1
46. Mr. Granville

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has seen the demand by the Agricultural Workers' Union for a minimum wage of £4 a week; and whether he will take this into consideration in discussing with representatives of the industry the interpretation of his 1940 pledge to farmers and the guaranteed prices to be fixed for a period of four years.

Mr. Hudson

As regards the first part of the Question, a proposal to raise the national minimum wage to £4 per week was considered by the Agricultural Wages Board last year. The outcome was the decision by the Board to fix the national minimum at 65s. The second part of the Question seems to be of a hypothetical character.

Mr. Granville

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that this demand has been made? Will he take this into consideration in his present talks, particularly with regard to the long-term policy? Does not this modify his attitude in regard to the 1940 pledge?

Mr. Hudson

No, Sir. The hon. Member is misinformed. No proposal to raise the minimum wage has been put before the Agricultural Wages Board.

Mr. W. J. Brown

Will the right hon. Gentleman, in the discussions he has with the National Farmers' Union, see that the Agricultural Workers' Union is brought in, so that the element of wages may be taken into consideration?

Mr. Hudson

The hon. Member can be assured that the element of wages is very prominently in the mind of the National Farmers' Union.

Sir Frank Sanderson

Is not this constant demand for increased wages a sure road to inflation? Ought it not to be stopped?