asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that the Ross and Cromarty County Council pay wages to employés on road schemes monthly; that such a system inflicts hardship on the men concerned; and whether he will make representations to the county council on the matter?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The county council inform us that monthly payments, which have hitherto been in operation in most districts of the county, do not entail any special hardship, and that weekly payments would involve an increase in the clerical work of the district surveyors. Arrangements have been made whereby any workman desiring an advance of wages after two weeks may obtain it. The matter is within the discretion of the county council, with whom my right hon. Friend is, however, in communication on the subject.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will inquire into the circumstances under which the workmen employed upon Government-aided road schemes were granted an increase of 1d. per hour by the Isle of Lewis district committee, which was withheld when the employés concerned were transferred to the jurisdiction of the Ross and Cromarty Council under the Local Government (Scotland) Act?
I am informed that the increase referred to was granted five days before the district committee demitted office owing to the transfer of functions under the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1929. The workmen in question had previously been paid at the same rate as the other road workmen of the county, and the withdrawal of the increase was the result of a. decision of the highways committee, approved by the county council, on a. motion to increase the wages of all county road workmen by ld. per hour.
Is it not a fact that the powers of administration have not been delegated by the Council in the Isle of Lewis and that the rates of pay which obtain are the rates which are general all over the county?
I think that is what I stated in my answer. It is a matter entirely within the discretion of the county council. The county council has fixed what they consider to be a uniform rate in the county, and therefore they are not prepared to agree to an increase of one penny per hour, which the district committee voted to the men five days before the Act came into operation.
Is it not a fact that the rate of wages paid by the Ross and Cromarty County Council is as high as that which is paid in any other county?
I cannot answer that question without notice.