Oral Answers to Questions — Wages Councils' Recommendations

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th July 1952.

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Photo of Mr Ernest Fernyhough Mr Ernest Fernyhough , Jarrow 12:00 am, 24th July 1952

asked the Minister of Labour if he will now sign the proposals of the Retail Newsagency, Tobacco, and Confectionery (England and Wales) Wages Council submitted to him on 4th June.

Photo of Mr Harold Boardman Mr Harold Boardman , Leigh

asked the Minister of Labour why there has been delay in signing the proposals of the Retail Food (Scotland) Wages Council which were submitted to him on 22nd May.

Photo of Mr George Craddock Mr George Craddock , Bradford South

asked the Minister of Labour when he intends to sign the proposals of the Laundry (Great Britain) Wages Council which were referred to him on 20th May.

Photo of Mr Walter Padley Mr Walter Padley , Ogmore

asked the Minister of Labour why the proposals of the Hairdressing (Great Britain) Wages Council submitted to him on 1st May have not yet been signed by him.

Photo of Mr Richard Winterbottom Mr Richard Winterbottom , Sheffield, Brightside

asked the Minister of Labour why he has not ratified the proposals of the Retail Food (England and Wales) Wages Council submitted to him on 13th May.

Mr. J. T. Price:

asked the Minister of Labour if he will now sign the proposals of the Retail Drapery, Outfitting and Footwear Trades (Great Britain) Wages Council referred to him on 23rd May.

Photo of Mr Wilfrid Burke Mr Wilfrid Burke , Burnley

asked the Minister of Labour why he has not ratified the proposals of the Retail Bookselling and Stationery (Great Britain) Wages Council submitted to him on 29th May.

Photo of Sir Walter Monckton Sir Walter Monckton , Bristol West

I would refer the hon. Members to the reply which I gave on Monday last to a Question put by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens).

Photo of Mr Ernest Fernyhough Mr Ernest Fernyhough , Jarrow

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that these modest increases, which his action has prevented these workers from receiving, would not have compensated them for the increase in the cost of living between their last increase and today's date? Does he not think that a Government which gives substantial tax concessions to people earning over £1,000 a year, and freezes the wages of workers who are getting less than £6 a week, is a Government which, in the interests of decency and justice, ought to be got rid of as soon as possible?

Photo of Sir Walter Monckton Sir Walter Monckton , Bristol West

The hon. Member will not expect me to agree with his last observation—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I can only say that if he does his expectations will not be realised. I should like to point out to the hon. Gentleman that I explained to the House on the last occasion the dilemma in which I am placed in having only two courses before me. It is not my fault that, when I reach the conclusion which ultimately I reach, I cannot date it back. That is the fault of the Act which has laid the task upon me and limited my powers.

Photo of Mr Harold Boardman Mr Harold Boardman , Leigh

Is the Minister aware that to use these £5 a week men to fight inflation is repugnant nonsense to most fair-minded people?

Photo of Sir Walter Monckton Sir Walter Monckton , Bristol West

I am not attempting to do anything of the sort. What I did was this. I thought that it was right to ensure that in these wages councils, as elsewhere, the observations of my right hon. Friend on the serious economic situation should be borne in mind before a decision was reached. That was why I did it.

Photo of Mr George Craddock Mr George Craddock , Bradford South

In view of the serious observations made by the Minister about our economic circumstances, may I ask whether there will be a review of the allowances granted to the Queen and the £40 million to doctors?

Photo of Sir Walter Monckton Sir Walter Monckton , Bristol West

That is not a question for me.

Several Hon. Members:

rose