§ Mr. LIVINGSTONE
asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he has received a communication, signed on behalf of the workers engaged on road relief work at South Loch Erisort, in the island of Lewis complaining that workmen are unable to earn, under the contract system, more than 4d. to 5d. an hour for work which is a great physical strain upon the men employed, also drawing attention to the shortage and unsuitability of the implements provided, and to the fact that the earnings of these men are only paid at the end of five or six weeks' work, and that, owing to this method of payment, these men are unable to secure credit for their daily or weekly purchases; whether he has now completed his inquiries into the matter referred to; and, in view of existing conditions, is he prepared to sanction such increase and expedition of payments as will enable these men to maintain themselves in decent circumstances?
I received the communication referred to in the question,2282W and have just received a Report, from which it appears that the allegations made in that communication are unwarranted. The scale of payment in force is equivalent to the standard piece-work rate for casual labour in the island. According to the information before me, the only respect in which there appears to be a legitimate ground for complaint is that payment for the work has not always been made at regular intervals. I am giving instructions with a view to putting this matter right during the remainder of the period for which this work is to be continued.