HC Deb 02 August 1962 vol 664 cc769-71
10. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration is being given by the National Economic Development Council to the problem of the extent to which it will be possible to increase the remuneration of those occupations which are generally recognised to be underpaid, and in which remuneration cannot be related to productivity, without claims for increased remuneration or the maintenance of differentials being made by other classes of the community including organised industrial labour.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The Council is not at present considering this matter.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

While appreciating that the Council is still in its pre- liminary stage, as it were, may I ask my right hon. Friend if he will put on the agenda of the Council the central problem of how under-paid classes such as nurses, probation officers, administrative workers and so on are to get a rise in pay without setting up a general reaction throughout the whole industrial community to keep their differentials?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The Council's main preoccupation and concern at the moment is how best and most effectively to increase the rate of sound economic growth. I think that for the present the Council must concentrate on that.

19. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what advice he has received from the National Economic Development Commission on the relation between wages and the cost of living, the need for growth in industrial production, and the organisation of industry.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

None as yet, Sir.

Mr. Shinwell

Is not this an astonishing Answer? Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer, in reply to a question which I placed on the Order Paper a few weeks ago about the functions of this body, informed me that it could deal with any economic subject, including all the items contained in my question and the nationalisation of industries, if it so desired? Is it not obvious that the functions of this body will conflict with the proposed functions of the National Incomes Com-mission, and, as this body is doing practically nothing, as the right hon. Gentleman admitted, what is the purpose of going on with this or the other body?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am very far from admitting that it is doing other than the serious and important job of studying the implications of growth. That is a matter of major importance, and that is the point to which it is directing its attention at the moment.

Mr. Callaghan

Why was a separate body constructed, in view of the question put by my right hon. Friend? Did the National Economic Development Council refuse to have anything to do with wages? Was that why it was necessary to construct the National Incomes Commission?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The different bodies were constituted because their functions are different.