HC Deb 04 November 1954 vol 532 cc593-4
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.

Mr. Amory

£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?

Mr. Amory

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.

Mr. Gooch

Does the Minister not agree that farm workers are worth £7 a week?

Mr. Amory

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.

Forward to