HC Deb 09 August 1966 vol 733 cc1391-2
Q6. Mr. Driberg

asked the Prime Minister how many communications on the subject of the deflationary measures imposed by Her Majesty's Government have been received by his office, and by the other departments primarily concerned, from the national headquarters and local branches of trade unions, from the constituency and local organisations of political parties, from employers' associations, from chambers of trade and commerce, and from other responsible and representative bodies; how many of these communications, in each category, expressed, broadly, approval of these measures and the unemployment which they are designed to cause; and how many expressed disapproval.

The Prime Minister

I regret that this information could only be made available at a disproportionate expenditure of time and money.

Mr. Driberg

Without giving exact details now, can my right hon. Friend say whether, broadly, as one would expect, the approval comes from bankers and big business rather than from the workers and the party he himself leads, in general, with such brilliant ability?

The Prime Minister

An examination of my postbag does not suggest that all the letters are from one side or another. My experience, which is probably shared by a large number of hon. Members, is that there have been far more letters on the subject of pirate radio and the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill than on the question of the prices and incomes freeze.

Mr. A. Woodburn

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the ordinary workers, apart from any question of their leaders, think that something must be done to stop the inflationary tendencies and welcome what my right hon. Friend is doing?

The Prime Minister

I think that there is a widespread degree of support, which has been confirmed by recent public opinion polls and in other ways, for really vigorous measures to deal with the prices and incomes problem. I think that the whole House recognises—as did the previous Government—that it is essential to solve this problem if we are to get consistent and balanced growth without running into balance of payments difficulties as we have so often.

Sir G. Nabarro

The Prime Minister has referred to opinion polls. Will he confirm that the majority of his letters commiserate with him in the matter of his own decline in popularity in those polls?

The Prime Minister

I am glad to say that I have had no letters on that subject—and I have also had no letters pointing out that the position of the right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath) is now the lowest that any Leader of the Opposition has ever had.

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