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Farmworkers' Wages

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 9 November 1950

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60.

asked the Minister of Agriculture what answer he has given, or proposes to give, to the request of the National Farmers' Union that the whole of the cost of the recent increase in farm-workers' wages shall be met by the consumers.

The request of the National Farmers' Union for England and Wales for a special review under the provisions of Section 2 (2) of the Agriculture Act, 1947, is still under consideration and I cannot yet say what answer will be given.

Can we have, at this stage, a quite specific assurance from my hon. Friend that under no circumstances will the Ministry consent to any increase in the prices of farm commodities to the consumer before the normal review of farm prices which is scheduled to take place in February of next year?

My hon. Friend is asking me to anticipate the consideration that I have stated is being given.

Is the Minister aware that if reasonable consideration is not given to this problem it may well mean that a number of agricultural workers are discharged and that production will suffer—I speak in full agreement with the rise given to the farmworkers—and that it must be recognised that this is an expense on the agricultural industry that has to be met?

How does the Minister propose to co-ordinate the position with Scotland on this matter of prices?