HC Deb 06 December 1979 vol 975 cc295-7W
Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list in theOfficial Reportthe industries and services in which there is in existence a legally enforceable minimum wage; and in which either party is allowed to contract out of the agreement.

Mr. Jim Lester

The list is as follows:

  • Aerated Waters
  • Agriculture
  • Boot and Shoe Repairing
  • Button Manufacturing
  • Coffin Furniture and Cerement Making
  • Corset
  • Cotton Waste Reclamation
  • Dressmaking and Women's Light Clothing
  • Flax and Hemp
  • Fur
  • General Waste Materials Reclamation
  • Hairdressing
  • Hat, Cap and Millinery
  • Lace Finishing
  • Laundry
  • Licensed Non-residential Establishment
  • Licensed Residential Establishment and Licensed Restaurant
  • Linen and Cotton Handkerchief and Household Goods and Linen Piece Goods
  • Made-up Textiles
  • Ostrich and Fancy Feather and Artificial Flower
  • Perambulator and Invalid Carriage
  • Pin, Hook and Eye and Snap Fastener

£1.10 £1.30 £1.40
Approximate cost £200 million £700 million £150 million
Percentage increase in wages bill 0.2 percent. 0.7 percent. 1.2 percent.

The estimates do not include part-time workers who work fewer than 30 hours a week. Reliable information about their earnings, on which sum an estimate could be based, is not available. In so far as such part-time workers would be covered by a minimum wage at these levels the estimates given above understate the likely cost.

Separate estimates for the public sector can be made only for men aged over 21

  • Ready-made and Wholesale Bespoke Tailoring
  • Retail Bespoke Tailoring
  • Retail Food and Allied Trades
  • Retail Trades (Non-Food)
  • Rope, Twine and Net
  • Rubber Proofed Garment Making
  • Sack and Bag
  • Shirtmaking
  • Toy Manufacturing
  • Unlicensed Place of Refreshment
  • Wholesale Mantle and Costume
  • The appropriate statutory minima apply irrespective of any contract to observe less favourable wages and conditions.

Mr. Ralph Howell

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the cost of introducing a national minimum wage at £1.13 an hour, £1.25an hour and £1.38 an hour, applicable to all workers aged 18 years and over; how much in each case would be added to the total wages bill; and of this total how much would be attributable to the public sector.

Mr. Jim Lester

Estimates of the cost of a national minimum wage at the precise levels for which my hon. Friend has requested them could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The following table gives estimates, based on the new earnings survey for April 1979, of the direct addition to the national wage bill caused by raising the pay of full-time workers (defined as those working over 30 hours a week or more) over 18 who are paid less than £1.10 an hour, £1.30 an hour and £.1.40 an hour up to those levels.

and women aged over 18. The direct costs of a national minimum wage for all such full-time workers in the public sector are estimated, on the basis of the NES for April 1979, as approximately:

£1.10 £1.30 £1.40
£25 million £110 million £210 million

The estimates given above make no provision for the indirect or repercussive effects of a minimum wage on workers paid above the minimum. Higher paid workers could react in a variety of ways, and estimates of the additional costs are therefore very uncertain. But in as far as higher-paid workers maintained their differentials costs would be increased, and the increase could be very great.