19 JUNE 1926, Page 15


the SPECTATOR.] &a—Mr. H. Smith said that " the miners are out to fight against a reduction in wages which would make it impossible for the mother to give her children the food and clothing she desired." Lord Balfour of Burleigh endorsed this and in- ferred that " children's allowances " would be one of the most valuable measures of adding to the contentment of the mining population. I do not know what food and clothing the miners desire for their children, but I do know that the wife of a Herefordshire farm labourer makes better provision for the needs of her children than does the wife of the miner. You never see rags in Hereford such as one sees in mining villages. The children appear cleaner and better cared for. Yet the miner is paid a minimum of 45s. (with fuel) while the Hereford labourer is paid 31s. I do not contend that the labourer's wage is sufficient, though I believe it is all that agriculture can pay— and no one proposes to subsidize agriculture at the expense of the rest of the community to increase the labourer's, wages. The miners would be the first to cry out against a subsidy on corn. I contend that on three-quarters of the wages of the miner the agricultural labourer can and does find it possible to do for his children more than the miner does. It is not on the children that the miner's money is spent. Does anyone believe that the miner at present spends 14s. per week on his children more than the farm labourer spends ?—I am, Sir,