HC Deb 16 March 1948 vol 448 cc1856-7
10. Mr. Gerald Williams

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the difficulty experienced by small licensed residential hotels in various parts of the country in implementing the new wages regulations; whether steps will be taken to simplify these regulations; and whether also in view of the Government's decision to discourage further wage increases action will be taken to ensure that the machinery of the Catering Wages Act is no longer used to impose wage increases on the hotels and restaurants industry.

Mr. Isaacs

The wages set out in the order were proposed by the Licensed Hotels and Restaurants Wages Board, which consists of representatives of employers and workers in the industry, together with three independent members. Any question of formulating proposals for simplifying or otherwise amending the order is a matter for the Wages Board and not for me.

Mr. Williams

Is the Minister aware that his answer is not very helpful, and that the small hotel owners have been working under very difficult conditions for some time past, but now that the basic petrol ration has been removed it is almost impossible for them to continue?

Mr. Isaacs

These proposals were drafted by this representative body appointed by the industry. They were advertised to the whole industry and any observations and criticisms submitted were considered. They were only passed to me for my signature after I was satisfied that the terms of the Act were carried out. I have no power to interfere.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

Is not the right hon. Gentleman missing the whole point of the Question, which is that these regulations were drawn up before the withdrawal of the basic petrol ration introduced completely different circumstances?

Mr. Isaacs

I did not miss the point of the Question put to me. The Question I answered emphasised that certain things had been done; but I have no power to interfere. If the bodies themselves like to get together and make a change, that is up to them.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the catering workers have been waiting for over five years for these proposals, and, in fact, they should be increased rather than decreased?