§ Mr. DEVLIN
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the conditions that exist in the bespoke tailoring trade in Ireland; whether he is aware that men engaged in that occupation do not earn on an average more than £2 a week throughout the year which, with the present high cost of living, is a totally inadequate wage; and whether he will take steps to have the terms of the Trades Board Act applied to this trade in Ireland in similar terms to those which have been applied in England and Scotland?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
My hon. Friend appears to be under a misapprehension. A Trade Board was established for the Retail Bespoke Tailoring Trade in Ireland on 24th April, 1920. This Board proposed to fix rates and submitted them to me for confirmation in due course on 26th October. The Board had previously, however, made a formal recommendation to me that the representation of country districts on the Board should be strengthened. I took immediate steps to carry out their recommendation, but the additional members could not be appointed before the meeting at which the rates were fixed. Formal representations were made to me by employers that the rates should not be confirmed until the Board had had an opportunity of considering their application to country districts with the help of the additional members. A meeting of the Board had been arranged for 26th 239W October at which these members were to be present, and, as I felt that it would be desirable to have the views of the strengthened Board before me, I referred the rates back for reconsideration. The Board met in due course on 26th October, but, owing to an incomplete attendance, no action was possible. On 18th November, however, the Board decided to exclude rural areas from the operation of the rates, and I have confirmed the rates with this limitation.