HC Deb 12 November 1970 vol 806 cc582-3
7. Mr. Ashley

asked the Secretary of of State for Employment if he will take steps to establish a minimum earnings guarantee.

18. Mr. Moyle

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will introduce legislation for a minimum wage.

53. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his policy towards a national statutory minimum wage.

Mr. R. Carr

I have no plans for introducing legislation for a national minimum wage at the present time. We are studying all possibilities for tacking the problems of low pay and family poverty including the possibility of a national minimum wage.

Mr. Ashley

As millions of low-paid workers in industries covered by wages councils are receiving increases less frequently—and smaller increases—than better-paid workers, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider urgently legislation for a national minimum wage as soon as possible?

Mr. Carr

All I can say at the moment is that the hon. Gentleman's point will certainly be taken into account in the study to which I referred.

Mr. Moyle

I am encouraged by the thought that the Minister is looking into the problem. Will he give the House an indication when he expects to produce recommendations to the House for consideration?

Mr. Carr

I am afraid not at the moment.

Mr. Spriggs

Is the Minister aware that the low wages paid by some industries present one of the greatest dangers to the economy and to industrial relations? Will he look into this proposal very carefully?

Mr. Carr

Yes, indeed. I certainly agree, as I have made clear on previous occasions in the House, that if we could get larger increases for the lower-paid, while using strength to see that they are not immediately reflected in equal increases for the higher paid, our economy and society would be better off.