17 SEPTEMBER 1921, Page 3

There can be little doubt, we fear, that the Trade

Boards, by insisting that the same rates of wages should be paid through- out the country, are driving trades from the small towns to the large cities and ruining the local tailor or the local milliner who cannot compete under such conditions with the large city stores. It is to the national interest to decentralize industries as much as possible. It may be said that employers of labour can always appeal against the scales of pay which, indeed, are supposed to be settled after full discussion by both sides, and that they mast be prosecuted if they break the law. We admit the objection. Moreover, we do not want to encourage " sweated " wages. But the fact is that the Ministry of Labour is quite out of touch with the real financial situation of the country, which is desperate. And yet we pay £6,000,000 a year, as administrative expenses, for a Ministry which, in the circum- stances, does much more harm than good.