HC Deb 25 January 1978 vol 942 cc598-9W
Mr. Ashley

asked the Minister for the Civil Service (1) what is the total number of homeworkers employed indirectly through contractors by the Civil Service;

(2) how many homeworkers are employed on income tax forms, related documents, and other documents used by the Civil Service;

(3) what are the highest and lowest average hourly rates paid to homeworkers who are employed directly or indirectly by the Civil Service; and in cases of piecework, what would be the average highest and lowest rates of hourly income;

(4) if he will list in the Official Report the names and addresses of all contractors undertaking work of any kind for the Civil Service who employ home-workers;

(5) pursuant to his reply of 12th January, what would be the current rates based on the Fair Wages Resolution of the House, 1946; and what are the actual rates paid;

(6) what steps he has taken to ensure that contractors employed on work for the Civil Service pay rates provided for under the House of Commons Fair Wages Resolution 1946;

(7) if he will list in the Official Report the moneys paid to Motivity Limited, Hampton, and the rates charged for work on income tax forms allocated by Her Majesty's Stationery Office;

(8) what information he has received from Motivity Limited, Hampton, about the rates it pays for work on income tax forms.

Mr. Charles R. Morris

I recognise my hon. Friend's concern about the allegations that have been made with regard to low pay and poor conditions among some homeworkers. Some of them are, of course, covered by wages councils, and the Government have sought to provide additional protection by means of the Fair Wages Resolution. Companies which provide homeworkers who are engaged on work for Government Departments are contracted to the individual Departments concerned and I understand that the general practice would be for such companies to be bound by the Fair Wages Resolution. If my hon. Friend knows of any failure to observe the undertaking to comply with the Fair Wages Resolution, I hope that he will take it up with the Department concerned.

I understand from Her Majesty's Stationery Office that the number of homeworkers employed on income tax forms and related documents are, as I indicated to my hon. Friend on 12th January 1978, about 140 in the two firms concerned—namely, Motivity Limited and Whitehead and Wood Limited. It is not the practice to disclose the price paid to individual contractors for goods or services supplied. Her Majesty's Stationery Office has no information available about the rate paid by contractors to employees.

No information is available centrally regarding the number of homeworkers employed by contractors to Government Departments generally, and the time and effort which would be needed to collect it would involve disproportionate cost. I cannot say what would be the current rates based on the Fair Wages Resolution of the House, 1946, as such rates would vary according to the nature and circumstances of the work performed.

No homeworkers are directly employed as civil servants; nor are any employed by contractors engaged by the Civil Service Department or the Central Office of Information, which are the other Departments for which I have responsibility.

Forward to