HC Deb 23 November 1949 vol 470 cc351-2
28. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what was the average wage of a workman, over the age of

August, 1938 August, 1946 August, 1949
Skilled Tradesmen 75 cents-$1. 40 $5.00-$6.20 $6.20-$8.00
Skilled Workers 70 cents-$1.00 $4.50-$5.00 $5.60-$7.20
Ordinary Workers 60 cents-75 cents $4.20-$4.50 $4.80-$5.80
Manual Workers 40 cents-80 cents $3.20-$3.60 $3.55-$4.05

The general retail price index, taking 1939 prices as 100, was 586 for the quarter ending September, 1949. Figures for 1946 are not available. It will be seen that, except for some of the highest paid workers, wage rates have risen by a higher percentage than the cost of living as represented by the general retail price index.

21 years, in Hong Kong in August, 1938, in August, 1946 and in August, 1949, respectively; and how far increases in wage rates have kept up with increases in the cost of living.

Mr. Rees-Williams

As there are a number of figures in the reply, I will with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Wyatt

Will my hon. Friend emphasise to the Administration in Hong Kong that because of the wide disparity between increases in wage rates and increases in the cost of living they should not put down demands for wage increases as Communist propaganda, and that the best way to meet Communist propaganda is to provide decent living conditions for the people?

Mr. Rees-Williams

As my hon. Friend will see when he reads my answer, in fact wage rates have risen by a higher percentage than the cost of living, so his suggestion to me does not arise.

Mr. Harrison

Is my hon. Friend aware that wage rates and general working conditions in Hong Kong are better than they are in almost any other part of the Far East?

Following is the reply:

The daily wage rates for the four main categories of worker varied at the times in question between the approximate limits shown in the following table. ($1 Hong Kong = ls. 3d. Sterling.)

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