1 DECEMBER 1928, Page 15

Country Life


Last week I came up against the most cheery examples of- the inherent vitality of the British farmer. It was in Norwich, and at the very centre of the depression settled over arable faintirig. The depression, was at that moment enhanced by an invincible difference of opinion that had arisen between fanner and labourer on the -Wages' Board. The farmers said they could not pay 30s. a week—an un- utterably miserable wage—and the labotirers wanted 35s. A difference of 10s. a week (and such a sum divides a decent from a starvation wage) was too big to be bridged, in spite of a long endeavour ; and the result is likely to be that no statutory wage will be in existence from January -1st. Indi- vidual bargaining will be restored, and this would mean that many of 'the Norfolk 'labourers will suffer a hungry winter. Several of the farmers gave adequate proof that they them- selves have not been making even 25s. a week, if their capital losses be considered. Yet everyone _ knows the hopeless folly of attempting to rebuild agriculture on the foundation of a starvation wage.