HC Deb 27 February 1941 vol 369 cc646-8W
Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that some factories are paying from 5s. to 8s. 6d. a night to their men employed on fire-watching duty; that this causes great dissatisfaction among the employés of firms who cannot afford to pay more than is. a night to cover out-of-pocket expenses; and will he strengthen the provisions of his fire-watching orders to prevent any payment for the work beyond such out-of-pocket expenses, or fix a limit which will be fair to all concerned?

Mr. H. Morrison

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on the 13th February by my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to a Question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. J. Hall).

Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that some firms are paying 7s. to 8s. 6d. per night to fire-watchers; and what steps he is taking to prevent the charges reducing the amount of Excess Profits Tax to be paid by such firms who would thus get their fire-watching done at the national expense?

Captain Crookshank

I would remind the hon. Member that under the provisions of Section 32 of the Finance Act, 1940, the Commissioners of Inland Revenue have power to disallow, in computing profits for Excess Profits Tax purposes, any payments that they consider to be unreasonable or unnecessary. What payments may be reasonable or necessary will depend on the circumstances of the particular case, but in this connection I may perhaps refer the hon. Member to the replies given by my hon. Friend the Home Secretary to Questions addressed to him on this matter on 20th February.

Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aircraft Production whether he is satisfied that the appropriate officials of his Department will take all necessary steps to prevent costs rising in contracts owing to the practice of many factories paying their employés as much as 5s. to 8s. 6d. a night for fire-watching?

Colonel Llewellin

Yes, Sir. If excessive wages are paid for fire-watching by firms engaged on contracts for this Ministry, steps will be taken to disallow in overhead costs any such excess payments.