HC Deb 15 March 1951 vol 485 cc1763-5
60 and 65. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what decision he has reached on the application by industrial civil servants for two weeks' annual leave with pay;

(2) whether he will make a statement about the application by industrial civil servants of an extra week's leave with Pay.

Mr. Jay

On 27th July, 1950, the trade union side of the Joint Co-ordinating Committee for Government Industrial Establishments tabled a claim for an extra week's paid leave for all Government industrial employees in 1951 and asked for the opportunity to discuss this with my right hon. Friend's predecessor personally. He was prevented by illness from doing so, but my right hon. Friend received a deputation on 6th December. The Government had previously accepted the claim in principle, and had said that it was among the things to be done when our economic position had sufficiently improved. After considering all the arguments my right hon. Friend has come to the conclusion that the economic situation in relation to the demands now being made on our resources has not yet improved enough to justify the considerable loss of production which this extra week's holiday would involve, and he has therefore told the trade union side that he cannot yet approve it.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Does that mean that the scheme is still accepted in principle and that it is only a question of selecting a suitable time for putting it into effect?

Mr. Jay

Yes, Sir. It is still accepted in principle, and we regard it as being high on the list of the things which we would like to do.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Is it not the case that if this scheme were immediately put into operation the work during the additional week's holiday would have to be shared out among the existing staff as in the case of the first week, and no increased staff would be necessary?

Mr. Jay

I do not think it is quite as simple as that.

Mr. G. Cooper

Can my hon. Friend say why there is so much difference between the leave granted to non-industrial civil servants and that granted to industrial civil servants?

Mr. Osborne

While sympathising with the demand for an extra week's holiday with pay, would the Minister make it quite clear that if the same standard of living is to be maintained 51 weeks' work has to be done in 50 weeks?

Mr. Jay

In answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, West (Mr. G. Cooper), we must remember that the industrial staff are on a five-day week, whereas the majority of the non-industrial staff are not. The chief reason for the distinction is historical and we have been steadily overcoming it in recent years.