HC Deb 20 January 1953 vol 510 cc14-5
18. Miss Ward

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has considered the representations which have been made to him by the Trades Union Congress on the refusal of the Staff Side to prepare schemes for the gradual introduction of equal pay; and what reply he has made.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The Staff Side of the Civil Service National Whitley Council have not refused to prepare schemes for the gradual introduction of equal pay. They have said that they do not wish to enter into joint discussions on such schemes, the outcome of which the Government might not be able to accept. The Trades Union Congress have made no representations to me about the National Staff Side's decision.

Miss Ward

Does it not look as if the Chancellor were asking for the preparation of a scheme by the Staff Side without giving any support on his side? Will my right hon. Friend convey to the trade unions my regret that they have not made any representations, and tell them with my compliments that if they do not make representations they are not the chaps that I thought they were?

Mr. Butler

Might I suggest that my hon. Friend write to Transport House herself? The address is Smith Square.

Dr. Summerskill

Will not the Chancellor declare himself on this matter, in view of the fact that the House has accepted the principle of equal pay on many occasions? When does he propose to take the initiative?

Mr. Butler

My actions are still governed by the statements of the Government made before the Election and since that we would like to take an initiative when we think the economic situation warrants it. We are just as much in favour of the general principle as is the right hon. Lady herself.

42. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will now make a further statement on the subject of equal pay in the Civil Service.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I have nothing to add to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis) on 27th November, 1952.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

If any decision in this matter depends upon an improvement in the economic situation and circumstances of the country, does not that answer mean that there is no likelihood whatever of equal pay being implemented in the lifetime of the present Government?

Mr. Butler

If we go along as we are going now—we have, at least, improved things from the angle of our balance of payments and we have made considerable improvements internally—the hon. Member will be surprised if he watches how we get on.