Skip to main content

Farmers' And Farm Workers' Earnings

Volume 958: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1978

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what estimates are available for the average earnings of British farmers; and how these compare with the average industrial wage in Great Britain;(2) what estimates are available for the average wages of British employee farm workers; and how these compare with the average industrial wage in Great Britain;(3) what is the ratio between the average earnings of British farmers and the average earnings of employed British farm workers; and if he will make a statement.

Information from the Department of Employment's annual new earnings survey shows that in April 1978 the average earnings of farm and industrial workers were as follows:

AVERAGE GROSS WEEKLY EARNINGS OF FULL TIME MANUAL MEN* (21 YEARS AND OVER): GREAT BRITAIN, APRIL 1978
£ per weekAverage weekly hours (including overtime)
Workers in—
Agriculture and horticulture62·5†47·8
Production industries‡84·545·8
NOTES:
*Workers whose pay was unaffected by absence.
†This average is based on data which includes, where appropriate, the reckonable value laid down by Agricultural Wages Boards' orders of payments in kind for accommodation, meals etc. provided by the employer.
‡Manufacturing, coal, electricity, gas and water industries etc.

Source: Department of Employment Gazette October 1978.

I regret that no comparison is possible between farmers' incomes and earnings of employed persons in agriculture or other industries. Net income of farmers and wives provides the reward not only for their labour as manual workers and managers but also the return on farm assets, excluding land, and the two component parts cannot be separately estimated except on the basis of arbitrary assumptions.