HC Deb 31 October 1956 vol 558 cc1424-6
46. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the average minimum wage for African workers in Nairobi.

Mr. Maclay

The general statutory minimum wage for men over 21 is Shs. 100 per month, including housing allowance. Actual wages for unskilled labour tend to be somewhat higher than this minimum.

Mrs. Castle

In view of this figure of Shs. 100 per month, which is about Shs. 25 a week, will not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the decision to charge a fee of Shs. 10 a week for patients in the new King George IV Hospital in Nairobi is quite unwarranted ; is it not obvious that they cannot possibly afford that sum, and ought we not to give them a free National Health Service?

Mr. Maclay

The hon. Lady will realise that in the case of people who cannot afford to pay anything such people are not charged. The scale of charges is carefully graded, and after a certain period no charge is made. We will gladly send to the hon. Lady details of these charges if she is interested in them.

Mr. Bevan

Is it not a fact that last week this information about wages paid was not available ; and is it not also a fact that many of the troubles we have in these areas are due to the material conditions than we accord to people in we enjoy in this country better material conditions than we accord to people in those areas, and why, if we have a free National Health Service here, should they not have it there?

Mr. Maclay

I have at least learnt in the short time I have been in my present office that one really cannot apply everything that happens in one part of the world in precisely the same way to every other part of the world without getting quite extraordinary results.

Mr. Bevan


Mr. H. Fraser

Would the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan), who is rising to his feet, take note that when—

Mr. Speaker

I thought the hon. Member had a question for the Minister.

Mr. Fraser

Could I ask my right hon. Friend whether it is not true that when the party opposite was in office the minimum wage in Nairobi was about Shs. 40?

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