HC Deb 04 April 1957 vol 568 cc567-8
36. Mr. Cronin

asked the Minister of Labour the percentage increase in hourly earning rates in British manufacturing industry between October, 1955, and October, 1956.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service (Mr. Robert Carr)

The percentage increase in the average hourly earnings in the manufacturing industries between October, 1955, and October, 1956, was 7.9.

Mr. Cronin

Is the hon. Member aware that that figure is one of the lowest figures of the major industrial countries of Western Europe? If he refers to the latest O.E.E.C. statistical bulletin he will see that the figure for Belgium is 14 per cent. and for Germany and France, 9 per cent. Bearing in mind the relatively more powerful position of British trade unions, will he take this opportunity of expressing his appreciation of their moderation?

Mr. Carr

I think that I should be unwise if I were at this time to follow the hon. Member's suggestion. It should be borne in mind that while earnings were rising by that amount the cost of living rose by a much smaller amount.

Captain Pilkington

Can the Minister give the productivity figures for the same period?

Mr. Carr

Not without notice.

Mr. Isaacs

Can the Minister inform the House whether the hourly earning rates to which he refers are for the standard week and number of hours, or do the figures quoted relate to the number of hours of work and extra hours with overtime?

Mr. Carr

I was asked about earnings, and the figures which I gave referred to earnings. The average number of hours worked in that year actually fell slightly between the two Octobers.

Mr. Isaacs

Do the figures include overtime payment?

Mr. Carr

They include overtime payment, but to a lesser extent than the year before.