asked the Minister of Labour whether at a meeting in July last the Milk Distributive Trade Board (Scotland), representative of employers, workers, and appointed members, unanimously agreed to certain wage rates; whether on 5th October the Ministry of Labour refused to confirm the raters on the ground that, if passed, they would reduce the number of persons employed and increase the cost of milk to the consumer; and whether, having regard to the fact that these rates were fixed by people having intimate knowledge of the trade and anxious to promote its prosperity, he can state the reason for this decision?
The facts are as stated in the first two parts of the question; with regard to the third part, I received representations that the rates, if confirmed, would cause unemployment and increase the price of milk, and I felt that in the faoe of these representations I should not be justified in confirming the rates until I had had the considered views of the Board on these two points.
Is it not the case that the right hon. Gentleman has had a considered reply from the Board, which fully investigated this matter and which was thoroughly representative of both sides of the trade? What is to become of the system if such a decision is not given effect to?
As my hon. Friend knows, the whole system is considered by a Committee, and I shall be glad to get the services of Lord Cave as its Chairman, but while the serious matter of unemployment is before us it is necessary to put that back.