HC Deb 08 June 1959 vol 606 cc609-10
13. Sir F. Medlicott

asked the Minister of Labour if, with a view to maintaining and increasing the volume of employment in the hotel and catering trades by attracting more visitors from the Continent, he will introduce an amendment to the Catering Wages Act which will provide for a service charge to be added to all hotel and catering bills and for tipping to be made illegal.

Mr. Iain Macleod

No, Sir. I do not think the subject lends itself to legislation.

Sir F. Medlicott

This is the kind of Question which should have been tabled by the other side, because tipping is neither consistent with the dignity of labour nor with any good system of wage structure. Is it not time that we began to dismantle this system, which is often irritating in practice and very uneven in operation?

Mr. Macleod

Even if all that is so—and some of it may be—I would not have thought that this is an appropriate subject for legislation. I asked the Board of Trade about this matter in view of my hon. Friend's Question, and the Department told me that at the tourist conference held in May, 1958, although any number of tourist organisations attended, not a single one raised this point. I doubt whether there is as much widespread interest as has been suggested.

Mrs. Slater

Does not that bear out the fact that the wages paid under the Catering Wages Board are extremely low, especially for women? What ought to happen is a raising of the wages rather than pressing this question of tipping.

Mr. Macleod

That is a matter for wages boards, which by recent decision of the House have now become wages councils.

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