HC Deb 30 November 1920 vol 135 cc1153-4W
Captain BROWN

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture whether his attention has been drawn to the recent hiring of farm servants at Carlisle, where it is alleged that many of the less experienced men were unable to obtain situations, in spite of the fact that they were quite willing to accept less than the wage ordered by the Wages Board; whether he is aware that women at this same hiring, on account of being outside the scope of the Wages Board, were all able to arrange terms and obtain employment; and if he proposes to take any steps to prevent unemployment being created in this way by State interference in industry?


I have seen a Report in the "Mark Lane Express" of the Martinmas hiring at Carlisle which states that farmers showed "a determination to economise by reducing their hands." It appears that a number of men were engaged at more than the minimum rates fixed by the Wages Board, but there were others to whom farmers would not offer as much as the legal minimum. The report referred to states that "some of the latter would, no doubt, have been willing to accept places at less than the minimum rate," but this appears to be only the opinion of the reporter. Women as well as men are subject to the Orders of the Wages Board, and in their case the terms of hiring reported were above the mini- mum rates. The last part of the hon. Member's question appears to raise the whole question of the policy of a minimum wage in agriculture.