HC Deb 28 March 1944 vol 398 cc1232-3
20. Mr. Snadden

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has any statement to make on the Order in Council (S.R. & O. No. 326 of 1944) relating to agricultural wages.

Mr. Johnston

This Order made certain changes in the machinery for fixing the wages of agricultural workers in Scotland. I am circulating a statement on the effect of the Order in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Snadden

Will the powers of the Scottish Board be the same as those of the English Board?

Mr. Johnston

That is substantially the purpose of this Order. It will operate for the duration of the war.

Following is the statement:

Hitherto under the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) (Scotland) Acts, 1937 and 1940, responsibility for fixing minimum rates of wages for agricultural workers has rested with the eleven District Agricultural Wages Committees subject to the exercise of revising powers by the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board. The Defence Regulation enacted by the Order in Coun- cil has the effect of transferring the initiative in minimum wage rate fixation from the District Committees to the Board. The Board is required to consult the District Committee concerned before fixing, cancelling or varying any minimum rate for any district and the Committees are authorised to make representations and recommendations to the Board at any time as to the exercise of the Board's powers. As the Board is thus made the wage regulating authority for Scots agricultural workers, the powers of the District Committee under the Holidays with Pay Act, 1938, to give directions as to the allowance of holidays with pay for these workers are also transferred to the Board. The Regulation brings Scottish procedure into line with English, and, as in that country, its operation is limited to the period during which agricultural prices are fixed nationally and a market is assured for agricultural produce.