HC Deb 18 November 1963 vol 684 cc607-8
11. Mr. Prentice

asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement on the progress of his talks with leaders on both sides of industry on the problems of redundancy and severance payments; and what are the prospects of legislation on this subject in the current Session.

Mr. Godber

Following the discussions on the National Joint Advisory Council, about which my predecessor informed the House on 31st July, more detailed consultations have been initiated with a wide range of interested organisations. In early October a memorandum was circulated, setting out the main points to be considered in assessing the form which legislation might take. Not all the organisations consulted have yet given me their views. Future action will be decided when the consultations, which I am pressing forward urgently, have been completed.

Mr. Prentice

Is that not a rather polite way of saying that nothing will happen this Session? Is that not rather disappointing? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his predecessor told us last April that he was in the middle of talks on this matter and used that as a reason for resisting our attempts to introduce legislation on this subject? Can the right hon. Gentleman do anything to speed up the process?

Mr. Godber

I agree with the hon. Member on the need to come to a firm conclusion. I am not indicating at this stage that we are not going ahead. Difficulties and complications, however, as illustrated by representatives from both sides of industry, have been greater than were at first anticipated. I hope that we shall make progress, and I shall certainly report to the House when I am in a position to do so.

Forward to