§ 53. Mr. Biffen
asked the Minister of Labour by what percentage the recent Wages Council Order has increased rates 31 and earnings in the aerated water industry.
§ Mrs. Shirley Williams
The recent Wages Regulation Order giving effect to proposals from the Aerated Waters Wages Council for England and Wales raised the statutory minimum rates for adult men and women workers by 10s. and 8s. 6d. per week respectively and provided for smaller increases for young workers. These cash increases represented increases in the statutory minima ranging from 4.7 per cent, to 6.7 per cent, according to grade, age and sex.
I have no information about the effect on earnings.
§ Mr. Biffen
Could the hon. Lady say whether, in view of the new responsibilities which the Ministry of Labour has for the prices and incomes policy, confirmation of these Wages Council Orders will be subject to the purported disciplines of the prices and incomes policy?
§ Mrs. Williams
The hon. Gentleman will be aware, first, that there are no powers to alter the suggestions and proposals of the Wages Councils. There are only powers to send them back or to accept them. He will be aware further that, since the minimum wages in this industry now amount to £9 19s. per week for a man and £6 19s. per week for an adult woman, they are well below even the Wages Council average level.