Payment in Cash

Part of Orders of the Day — Wages Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 14th May 1986.

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Photo of Mr Kenneth Eastham Mr Kenneth Eastham , Manchester, Blackley 6:30 pm, 14th May 1986

My hon. Friend is correct in all that he says. The Minister said in Committee that facilities were available for those who were unable to get to the bank before it closed. He said that, for example, they could go to the Post Office. However, the Post Office has now said that a charge of 50p will be made to cash cheques on a Saturday morning. People may be faded with all sorts of charges when trying to obtain their wages. At present, a worker receives his pay packet on pay day and he faces no charges. Conservative Members may say that free banking is available provided one stays in credit, but there is no guarantee that the banks will not change their policy. A banking crisis might result in a charge of 25p for every withdrawal, which will mean that the low paid will suffer a wage reduction.

It seems that the Government are intent on giving rights only to employers. Employers will be able to tell their workers, "From next month you will be paid through the bank, and not in cash." A worker's bank may be 12 miles from his village, he might find that after six months he incurs bank charges in obtaining his wages and the employer may decide to introduce monthly pay instead of weekly pay. There is no provision in the clause to oblige the employer to make compensatory allowances to tide over the worker who is to receive no wages for three weeks. Employees are being denied a choice, and that is why we have tabled the clause.

7.30 pm

The Bill deteriorates clause by clause. It is a Robin-Hood-in-reverse Bill. The Government are seeking to rob the poor to give to the rich. The emphasis is in one direction, and certainly not towards employees. For these reasons, I hope that the House will support the clause.