HC Deb 18 June 1969 vol 785 cc468-9
27. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will introduce legislation to ensure the rights of a workman as a preferential creditor for wages owing him, even if the assets of the firm for which he was working are seized on liquidation by local authorities employing such a firm when it fails to complete its contract.

Mr. Dell

I doubt whether this would be desirable but will consider the suggestion again in preparing any further companies legislation.

Mr. Allaun

Is not this in conflict with the accepted principle that unpaid wages are a priority claim? In the case of the Salford workers which I raised with the Minister, did not several local authorities seize valuable plant belonging to the building company?

Mr. Dell

As I indicated, my mind is certainly not closed to this idea. In the case mentioned, most of the equipment which was on hire or hire purchase was repossessed by the owners before the winding up. The problem is to balance the interests of the individual, who has certain preferential claims, and the interests of the community, which, through the local authority, wishes to enter into advantageous contracts. Nevertheless, I will certainly consider the matter.