HC Deb 08 July 1918 vol 108 cc46-7W

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that a voluntary agreement was arrived at in the month of March on behalf of the farmers of Sussex and other counties to pay the increased minimum wage from 31st March; whether he is aware that the above-mentioned farmers in Sussex have decided not to honour this agreement and that as a result there is danger of men stopping work within the next week or two in order to compel the farmers to keep to the agreement; and will he therefore take steps, as early as may be practicable, in the interests of the food supply of the country, to induce the farmers to honour the agreement entered into?


On the general question of making a minimum wage retrospective, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply of the 24th June. I am not aware that the farmers in Sussex have entered into such a voluntary agreement as is mentioned, although I am informed that the West Sussex Farmers' Union passed a resolution in this sense. I feel sure that farmers in Sussex will abide by any agreement they have made, and I cannot believe that anyone connected with agriculture would incur the grave responsibility of taking any action which would interrupt farm work at the present time.