HC Deb 21 February 1966 vol 725 cc2-3
3. Mr. Fisher

asked the Minister of Labour by what percentage earnings have increased in the last 15 months; and how this compares with the previous 15-month period.

Mr. Thornton

The latest figures I can give the hon. Member relate to the 15 months from August, 1964, to November 1965, and August, 1963, to November, 1964. During these two periods the average earnings of weekly paid and monthly paid employees taken together rose by 8.7 per cent. and 9.2 per cent. respectively.

Mr. Fisher

As the Government have failed to hold wage increases within the 3½ per cent. target of their incomes policy, may I ask the hon. Gentleman at least to try to ensure that future increases are genuinely paid for by greater productivity and by the elimination of restrictive practices, and not merely by the arguments of comparability? I am thinking particularly of the railwaymen.

Mr. Thornton

I should point out to the hon. Gentleman that in the 15-month period of his own party's Government with the slight overlap to November, 1964, the actual increase was greater than in the 15 months of this Government, with the slight overlap into the period of his party's Government. I am not going to enter into an argument, in reply to a supplementary question, on the issue of the incomes policy. This was fully debated less than a month ago.