§ 40. Mr. Osborne
asked the Minister of Agriculture what would be the estimated cost per annum of increasing the agricultural worker's basic wage from £6 to £7 per week, including the extra overtime and piece-work rates.
£30 million would be the cost of £1 per week increase in the remuneration of the numbers at present employed in England and Wales, and there would no doubt also be a substantial increase in the cost of overtime and other supplementary payments.
§ Mr. Osborne
In view of the smallness of this figure, as compared with the £1,900 million which the nation is spending yearly on drink, tobacco, gambling and amusement, does he not think it reasonable that a little better price should be paid for food towards meeting some such increase?
As I understand that this matter is at present before the National Wages Board, I must limit myself to supplying my hon. Friend with statistical information.
The hon. Gentleman is trying to draw me. He knows the very high opinion I have of farm workers, but I am afraid that, in this case, I cannot be drawn.