HC Deb 04 November 1958 vol 594 cc768-9
47. Mr. Swingler

asked the Prime Minister if he will call a conference of Ministers, industrial managers, and trade union leaders to discuss the causes of rising unemployment and the ways and means of restoring full employment in the economy of the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister

The existing arrangements for such discussions seem to me adequate.

Mr. Swingler

As it is the worker who suffers from unemployment, and as an increasing number of workers are suffering from grievous unemployment and the loss which this entails, may I ask whether the Prime Minister is aware that unemployment is becoming a serious fear and is spreading throughout the country, and whether he should not take the step of at any rate consulting the leaders of workers' organisations and asking them whether they can make proposals which would make up for the deficiencies in Government policy?

The Prime Minister

Informal discussions take place from time to time, of course, between Ministers and industrial leaders. In addition, as the hon. Gentleman no doubt knows, there are regular meetings of the National Production Advisory Council, which is just such a body as he envisages, of the National Joint Advisory Council and of the Economic Planning Board.

Mr. Woodburn

Would the right hon. Gentleman keep in mind the need to try to keep the economy going at a steady pace and not have the Government putting their foot on the accelerator at one minute and on the brake the next?

The Prime Minister

If the right hon. Gentleman had ever driven a car he would k now that that is just what one sometimes has to do.