HC Deb 11 July 1962 vol 662 cc1326-7
6. Mr. Prentice

asked the Minister of Labour if the will introduce legislation so to amend the Wages Councils Act, 1959, as to make provision for fixing minimum severance payments for workers who become redundant.

Mr. Hare

As I informed the hon. Member in reply to a Question on 21st May, it is my policy to encourage industry to make proper arrangements for dealing with the problem of redundancy. Considerable progress is being made on a voluntary basis, but I will, however, bear in mind the hon. Member's suggestion in the light of developments in industry generally and the special position of industries covered by wages councils.

Mr. Prentice

The Minister referred to "considerable progress". Would he agree that something less than 5 million workers are at the moment covered by arrangements of this sort and that progress is far too slow? Does he think the type of suggestion made in the Question would give a boost to progress in this field?

Mr. Hare

We want to treat this on the broad pattern of industry generally. It is true, as the hon. Member said, that under 5 million workers are covered, but it is equally true that most of them are covered by the very progressive policies pursued by employers within the last few years.