HC Deb 14 February 1956 vol 548 cc2171-2
51. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the need for price stability, and the lead given in implementing this policy by recent pronouncements of private enterprise cement firms and one nationalised board, namely, the South of Scotland Electricity Board, whether he will now call a conference of the heads of nationalised boards, to be presided over by himself, with a view to evolving a price stabilisation formula and agreement, for all nationalised industries during 1956.

The Prime Minister

I hardly think that all the different conditions could be dealt with by a single formula or by the procedure my hon. Friend suggests.

Mr. Nabarro

Can my right hon. Friend say what response, if any, other than in the case of the one relatively minor nationalised concern, has been made to the appeal in his Bradford speech, for is it not manifest that until the nationalised industries, which are basic industries, make a contribution to his policy, nothing whatever can be achieved?

The Prime Minister

The investment requirements of the nationalised industries have, quite properly, been discussed with the heads of the nationalised industries, like other investment requirements. Although I understand the motive behind my hon. Friend's Question—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, I do; it is a perfectly proper one—I do not think it will be possible to apply one flat and universal rule to all nationalised industries, which have very many differing features among them.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Could not the Prime Minister, in addition to the nationalised industries referred to by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro), have a look at British Petroleum, which is a nationalised industry, making a considerable profit, in which the Government have a majority holding of shares? Will he please have a look at that?

The Prime Minister

I think the Government are doing pretty well out of the shares.