HC Deb 11 February 1946 vol 419 cc28-9
53. Mr. De la Beré

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will confer with the Minister of Labour and the Central Wages Board with a view to the publication of the conclusions arrived at by the Central Wages Board in connection with farm workers wages, giving a full explanation.

Mr. T. Williams

No, Sir. The question of what information is to be issued to the Press after meetings of the Agricultural Wages Board is entirely one for the board itself to decide.

Mr. De la Beré

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that the efficient farm worker is entitled to equal fair play with the efficient industrial worker, and does he not realise, in view of the great shortage of food, that we shall not get the food unless we get the men?

Mr. Williams

My hon. Friend is asking for a statement.

Mr. De la Beré

I want a statement in the proper way.

63. Lieut.-Colonel Byers

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is satisfied that the policy for agriculture announced on 15th November, 1945, will enable British agriculture to pay a minimum wage of£4 10s. to the agricultural worker in the near future; and, if not, what additional steps he proposes to ensure that the higher wage can and will be paid.

Mr. T. Williams

Adequate remuneration and decent living conditions for farmers and farm workers are among the main objectives of the policy for agriculture which I outlined on 15th November last. The determination of minimum wages, as I have already made clear in reply to recent questions, is the function of the Agricultural Wages Board and I have no power to intervene.

Lieut.-Colonel Byers

Is the Minister satisfied that in formulating his policy he has done sufficient to enable British agriculture to pay£ 4 10s a week?

Mr. Williams

I did not set out to establish a special wage. I set out to establish what I hope will be a prosperous and stable agricultural policy.

Mr. Austin

Bearing in mind the reluctance of the Minister to interfere, will he refer to the Government the fact that we were elected for the sole purpose of interfering with the maladministration of the Tory Party?

Mr. David Eccles

Is not the Minister aware that the Agricultural Wages Act does in certain circumstances give him power to issue a direction to the Wages Board?

Mr. Williams

I am not aware of any such provision.

Mr. De la Beré

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of how little he is aware?

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