§ 14. Dr. Dickson Mabon
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what consideration he has given to the application for an increase in salaries for all nursing staff lodged with the Nurses and Midwives Whitley Council on 11th August, 1961.
§ 31. Miss Herbison
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when a decision will be made on a claim for an increase in salaries which has been before the Nurses and Midwives Whitley Council since 11th August, 1961.
§ Dr. Mabon
Was it not quite monstrous that the Secretary of State should have presumed to tell the House only a minute or two ago that these negotiations are going on all the time, when he and his right hon. Friend the Minister of Health have done nothing since 11th August? As these people have very low salaries indeed compared with 408 those earned in other industries, and as in the light of the Government's pay pause there can be no argument about productivity in relation to nurses and midwives, is it not ridiculous that this matter has been delayed for so long? Will the right hon. Gentleman seek to speed up the consideration of these claims and give these people a decent wage for once?
§ Mr. Maclay
I cannot add to what I have said. The Council is meeting to discuss this claim on 13th February.
§ Miss Herbison
Does it not seem strange that it takes six months from the time to claim is lodged until a Council meets to take any decision on it, although at the same time the Minister responsible can without any questions impose on some of these people higher rents with no right of redress? Is he aware that these nurses are among the most devoted people that we have and it is all the more important that the Government should treat them in a reasonable and generous way?
§ Mr. Maclay
I certainly agree that nurses are some of the finest people we have in the country. I do not agree that the changing of rents is necessarily a hardship. It is something which had to be done and had to be looked at in the context of what rents were being paid.