HC Deb 01 December 1966 vol 737 c599
12. Mr. Higgins

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs why Schedule 2 of the Prices and Incomes Bill was replaced by a quite different Schedule immediately after the Bill received the Royal Assent.

Mr. Albu

Because the temporary standstill on prices and incomes made it necessary for the N.B.P.I. and the bodies listed in Schedule 3 of the Act to have regard to the criteria in Command Paper 3073.

Mr. Higgins

Does the hon. Gentleman believe that it was a victory for the Opposition or a disaster for democracy that the measure which was defended on 10th August in this House was thrown into the wastepaper basket a few days later?

Mr. Albu

Nothing of the sort. During the stages of the Bill my right hon. Friend and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State made it perfectly clear that the criteria when the Bill came into operation would have to be adjusted to take account of the 20th July measures and the prices and wages standstill but that it was necessary to have the original Schedule in the permanent Bill.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that does not answer the question of my hon. Friend? On 10th August, did the Under-Secretary know that this change was to be made the next day? If he did not, why not? And if he did, why did he not tell the House?

Mr. Albu

The Under-Secretary in fact made it very clear in the debate on the Bill on 9th and 10th August that this was to take place. He made it very clear that the criteria in the Bill would have to be changed.