§ 32. Sir R. Glyn
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much more an agricultural worker receiving the standard wage and overtime would be paid today for a 50-hour week than would have been the case in 1948; and how much of the annual bill for farm support is due to this increase in farm workers' wages.
§ Mr. Hare
In England and Wales the increase would be £4 5s. 10d. per week on the basis stated. Although changes in agricultural wage rates are taken into account at Annual Reviews, along with other relevant factors, it is not possible to say how much of the annual bill for farm support is due to this increase in farm workers' wages.
§ Sir R. Glyn
Does my right hon. Friend agree that the percentage increase in the value of farm workers' wages is matched by a proportionate increase in the value of work done by farmers and their families, who outnumber regular agricultural workers by about 50 per cent.? Is it not true that the value of the work done by farmers and their families is not taken into account in the Annual Price Review, although it is included in the estimated income of the agricultural industry?
§ Mr. Hare
What my hon. Friend says is generally true. I would not quarrel with what he says about the work done by farmers and their families, although without looking at the estimated figures it would be difficult to give a final or clear answer, because the two sets of figures are not strictly comparable.
§ Mr. Hilton
Will the Minister inform his hon. Friend that farm workers are still working longer hours for less wages —a 46-hour week for a minimum of £8? Will he bear in mind that for many farm workers the minimum is also the maximum? Does not he agree that it is time farm workers had a fair share of the national prosperity, about which we hear so much from hon. Members opposite?
§ Mr. Hare
I am sure that none of my hon. Friends would dispute for a moment the great contribution made by the farm workers to the success of the industry, but it would be wrong for the hon. Member to try to induce me to take part in a discussion on the Floor of the House about agricultural wages. He knows, perhaps better than anybody in the House, that it is a matter for the Agricultural Wages Board, and it would not be proper for me to make any comment on some of the remarks that he has just made.