§ Major HAYWARD
asked the Minister of Labour whether there is a separate legal adviser to the Trade Board's office, or whether all proposed prosecutions under the Trade Boards Act have to be referred to the Legal Department of the Ministry of Labour?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
As I have stated in my previous reply to my hon. and gallant Friend, there are now 60 independent and autonomous trade boards, 41 in Great Britain and 19 in Ireland. The primary duty of these Boards is to fix minimum rates of wages, and if in the course of discharging this duty a trade board should require legal assistance the services of my legal advisers are always at its disposal. There is no separate legal adviser to the Boards. I am responsible to Parliament for the efficient and economical administration of the Trade Boards Acts, and legal pro-1282W ceedings for the enforcement of minimum rates fixed by a Trade Board, and confirmed by me, are instituted on my authority after the opinion of my legal advisers has been taken.
§ Major ENTWISTLE
asked the Minister of Labour how many trade boards have been established to date, and what are highest and lowest of the minima fixed by these boards for adult women and men?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
The number of trade boards established to date is 60; 41 in Great Britain and 19 in Ireland. With regard to the second part of the question, the highest general minimum time rates at present in operation for adult workers are:
Males and females, 2s. per hour for workers engaged in surgical work in the boot and shoe-repairing trade in Great Britain.
The lowest minima time rates in operation for adult workers are:
Males, Is. per hour (for packers with less than one year's experience), fixed by the Coffin, Furniture and Cerement-making Trade Board (Great Britain).
Females, 4½d. per hour, fixed by the Linen and Cotton Embroidery Trade Board (Ireland).
§ Mr. KENYON
asked the Minister of Labour how many inspectors have been appointed for the purposes of the Trade Boards Act; and what is the average number of complaints of infractions of the Act received each month?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
The number of inspectors specially appointed for noncompliance work in Great Britain under the Trade Boards Acts is now 17. I have also made arrangements by which the general non-compliance staff at my disposal can be trained and utilised for trade board work, and I have authorised 67 officers on this staff to assist in the enforcement of the Trade Boards Acts in Great Britain. There are, in addition, 4 inspectors appointed for work in Ireland. I regret that it is impossible to give the figure asked for in the second part of the question, as a large proportion of complaints is made verbally to individual inspectors and to the local officers of the Department, and many others are of a general nature. I am 1283W always ready to receive definite complaints of infraction, as the work of inspection is thereby appreciably assisted. Every endeavour is made to give early attention to all definite complaints.