HC Deb 22 July 1958 vol 592 cc195-6
3. Mr. Jay

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of Her Majesty's Government's recent measures for the relaxation of credit, if he will now make a statement on the Government's policy with regard to wage and salary claims.

Mr. Amory

It would be a serious mistake to regard recent credit relaxations as any justification for an indulgent attitude towards costs and prices. The maintenance of the value of our money requires continuing moderation in wage and salary settlements.

Mr. Jay

As the Chancellor has carried out a major credit relaxation on the ground that the economic situation of the country is easier, how can he justify no relaxation at all in wage claims?

Mr. Amory

It is just as important as ever that wage costs and the prices that depend upon them should be stabilised. As I have said several times, any wage increases which go beyond any increase in national productivity are bound to be inflationary.

Mr. H. Wilson

How does the right hon. Gentleman reconcile this attitude with the attitude which became very clear during the passage of the Finance Bill through the House, when he was quite anxious to give additional incentives to increase dividend payments? Will the right hon. Gentleman now say that, despite those incentives, he expects dividends to be held down just as much as wages are encouraged to be held down?

Mr. Amory

No such incentives were intended nor, I believe, given.

Mr. Nabarro

Has my right hon. Friend read the document called, "A Plan for Progress", the underlying theme of which is that there must be wage restraint in relation to a steadily increasing production?

Mr. Amory

I have not yet had time read that document.

Mr. Wilson

When the right hon. Gentleman does read it, will he bear in mind that that would be associated with an expanding economy and fair shares and social justice in the Budget? Will he make one matter absolutely plain because, party politics apart, it is extremely important and should be understood in the country? The right hon. Gentleman has reiterated this afternoon an appeal for wage restraint. Will he say whether, in his view, dividends should be held down in exactly the same way as he hopes wage claims will be held down?

Mr. Amory

I have said on several occasions that there is still a requirement for moderation in wages and dividends.