HC Deb 25 November 1920 vol 135 cc655-6W

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that German workmen were, before the War, paid on an average of 40 marks per week and that the product of their work was imported into this country on the basis of a labour wage of £2 a week; that the same workmen are now paid on an average of from 250 to 400 marks a week and that the product of their work is now being imported into this country, consequent on the collapse of the exchange, on the basis of a labour wage of £l to 30s. a week; that this work is in competition with the product of our own workpeople, who are receiving £4 to £5 a week; and that, as a consequence of this, competition, industries are menaced with extinction and grave unemployment is on the increase; and whether, under the circumstances, he will introduce legislation this Session to deal with the situation?


I have been asked to reply. I am not in a position to confirm the accuracy of my hon. Friend's estimates of average German wages before the War and at the present time, though I do not doubt that the sterling equivalent of those wages at current rates of exchange is, in general, less than the sterling equivalent of the pre-War wages at the rate of exchange then ruling, and materially less than the rates paid in similar industries in this country. As regards the remainder of his question, I would refer him to the answer which I gave on the 17th November to the hon. Member for South Nottingham, a copy of which I am sending him. It would not in any event be possible to introduce legislation during the present Session.

Back to