Foreign Variety Artists

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th December 1947.

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Photo of Mr John Lewis Mr John Lewis , Bolton 12:00 am, 18th December 1947

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that low-priced foreign vaudeville acts are being allowed to work in this country at a time when our own acts are suffering considerable unemployment; and will he, in the circumstances, withhold permits from all foreign performers who are receiving payment of less than £75 per week.

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

Permits for foreign variety acts are issued on the basis of an arrangement agreed between the managerial organisations and the Variety Artists' Federation and no representations have been received from either side that these arrangements are not working satisfactorily or that they need to be varied.

Photo of Mr John Lewis Mr John Lewis , Bolton

Would my right hon. Friend assure the House that if such representations are made in the near future he will consider them?

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

As there is a meeting tomorrow between both sides of this industry, and as I am sure that they will have noticed this Question, if they feel aggrieved, no doubt they will raise the matter.

Photo of Mr Charles Byers Mr Charles Byers , Dorset Northern

Is this the Labour Party's new way of uniting the workers of the world?

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

No, Sir. All we are concerned about is getting a proper agreement in order not to put our own people out of employment.

Photo of Mr Cecil Poole Mr Cecil Poole , Lichfield

Will the Minister bear in mind that it is contrary to many of our conceptions of British justice that the big fellow shall work and that the little fellow shall go to the wall?

Photo of Sir Martin Lindsay Sir Martin Lindsay , Solihull

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that he will not lend himself to a policy of bolstering up indifferent British vaudeville artists?

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

No, Sir. Neither will I agree to a policy of bringing in people who will undercut our own artists?

Photo of Mr Victor Collins Mr Victor Collins , Taunton

If these people are unemployed and underpaid, would my right hon. Friend say whether it is within the competence of his local officers to advise them that they can get better employment in industry and thus help themselves and the nation, too?

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

I do not accept the basis of my hon. Friend's contention. Many of these people are doing a good job of work, and they should be encouraged.