39. Miss Ward
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any statement to make following his recent meeting with representatives of the Staff Side of the National Whitley Council on equal pay.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
Yes, Sir. I was glad to receive last week a deputation from the staff side of the Civil Service National Whitley Council. I told the deputation that it was, in my view, essential that the change from unequal pay should be made over a period of time. I therefore suggested, and it was agreed, that the next step should be negotiations on the National Whitley Council with the object of evolving a scheme by which equal pay might be introduced on an agreed basis in the non-industrial Civil Service. I added that if such an agreement were reached for the removal over a period of years of the present inequalities, I hoped that it would be possible to implement it within the present financial year.
May I thank my right hon. Friend, and assure him that we are most appreciative of his decision? Will he remember what great satisfaction repetition of the statement will bring to the women concerned, and how glad I am that by this decision a Tory pledge is now beginning to be carried out?
§ Mr. Butler
I have always attached importance to recognising the status of women. In regard to the hon. Lady herself, I am sure the whole House will 205 recognise that she has been extremely pertinacious and sincere in pressing this subject.