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Agricultural Labourers (Wages)

Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 28 July 1914

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asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether, in view of the increased cost of living and the high rents that are paid for ordinary labourers' cottages in the district, the Government propose to increase the wages, which have remained unaltered for many years, of their lowest paid employés in the Forest of Dean?

Some time ago I set on foot the procedure necessary for a revision and increase of the wages referred to by the hon. Member, but I am not yet in a position to make a full statement on the subject.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the wages of these men are considerably below the workhouse minimum referred to in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Swindon speech?

May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman can say when a decision is likely to be arrived at, and also whether the evidence will be available at the time the applications are sent in?

I cannot answer the last part of the question until we have further details. The proposal we are intending to make in detail provides these men with a sufficiently large wage to give increased remuneration, and at the same time enable them to pay an economic rent for the cottages they occupy.