HC Deb 27 September 1939 vol 351 cc1359-60W
Mr. David Adams

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the reports of the school medical officer for Kent of serious cases of under-nourishment and other signs of poverty among children of farm workers of that county; and what steps he proposes to secure promptly proper standards of income for farm workers of that county?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

From the Annual Report for the year 1938 of the School Medical Officer for Kent, it appears that inquiries which were made into the question of the nourishment of children showed that the proportion of undernourished children among the agricultural population was smaller than the average for the five occupational groups for which figures are given.

As regards the latter part of the question. Agricultural Wages Committees are established under the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) Act for the purpose of fixing minimum rates of wages for workers employed in agriculture. The committees have sole discretion as to the rates they fix but Section 2 (4) of the Act directs that the committees shall, so far as practicable, secure, for able-bodied men such wages as in the opinion of the committee are adequate to promote efficiency and to enable a man in an ordinary case to maintain himself and his family in accordance with such standard of "comfort as may be reasonable in relation to the nature of his occupation.