Mr Marshall Stevens: 28. asked the Prime Minister whether the Government has adopted any policy which will enable the production of commodities for export to be normally continued at prices which will at least provide a living wage to the workpeople without entailing loss to the employer or to the country; if so, what is that policy; and, if the Government have no such policy, has he formulated any plan of action...
Mr Marshall Stevens: Were the United States of America, which are concerned in these matters, officially represented at the Conference, and was this country officially represented there?
Mr Marshall Stevens: Will the right hon. Gentleman include in the inquiry the question of the basis of equitable wages, not only for one trade, but for the whole of the trades of the country?
Mr Marshall Stevens: Do these stocks include wheat? Cannot the hon. Gentleman give a list of the commodities?
Mr Marshall Stevens: 43. asked the Prime Minister, seeing that no equitable settle-
Mr Marshall Stevens: Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the exchange is only a comparatively small portion of the question? Does he know that the silver question was not considered at all at Brussels, that the question of wages has never been considered, and that the United States of America was not represented at Brussels?
Mr Marshall Stevens: I represent a constituency in which there are some thousands of coalminers. Speaking as a private Member, I have no doubt that both parties entered into the negotiations with the very best intentions. The items were necessarily very complicated, and as often happens with negotiations when they continue too long, they got stale. One is apt to dwell upon particular points on one side or the...
Mr Marshall Stevens: That is only part of it. Question No. 45 to-day has been misunderstood, I gather from the Prime Minister's remark. That question did not relate only to exchanges. The first thing of all is a far greater matter, and that is the stabilisation of some basis of wages in this country which the Government should bring forward to this House and get the opinion of the House upon, if only by a...
Mr Marshall Stevens: Who signed the letter?
Mr Marshall Stevens: I rise to make a suggestion. My task has been made very much easier by the speech which has been delivered by the hon. Member for Cardiff (Mr. Gould). I listened very patiently yesterday without being able to find any reference in any speech to what really is the main cause of this trouble, and of the troubles which are bound to arise out of it. Before making the suggestion which I desire to...
Mr Marshall Stevens: Will the right hon. Gentleman quote the actual speech?
Mr Marshall Stevens: I only desire to refer to one point, which is rather important. There is no limitation, as far as I am aware, to the benefit paid to those who are obtaining partial employment. There must be many thousands at the present time who, although they are receiving far more than they received in pre-War times—in some cases, twice as much—are only working for half the week, and for the remainder...
Mr Marshall Stevens: Will the hon Gentleman in making the return distinguish between German dyes sent to this country by way of reparation and those imported in the ordinary way of business?
Mr Marshall Stevens: May we have the amount received by the Government by way of reparation imported into this country and in stock here now?
Mr Marshall Stevens: What number?
Mr Marshall Stevens: Is the right hon. Gentleman doing this work for the local authorities as an ordinary contractor at a fixed price, or is he allowed to do what he likes and charge what he likes?
Mr Marshall Stevens: Have the Cabinet given any consent to this undertaking?
Mr Marshall Stevens: It seems to me that this Committee is asked to commit the House of Commons to an entirely new policy, the policy of the nationalisation of the building trade, and without any reason, because the right hon. Gentleman has told us that he is only acting as agent for the local authorities, an agency which any firm of contractors would readily undertake under like circumstances. He has not told us...
Mr Marshall Stevens: Will the right hon. Gentleman give an estimate of one of the houses which have been completed?
Mr Marshall Stevens: Any overhead charges?