HC Deb 11 July 1966 vol 731 cc945-6
5. Mr. Higgins

asked the Minister of Labour what statistics he proposes to provide so that the effectiveness of the Government's incomes policy can be appraised.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

The Ministry already publishes a large number of relevant statistics, including statistics on wage rates, wage earnings, salary earnings and prices. The Central Statistical Office publishes estimates of the total wage and salary bill, profits, income from rent and self-employment, and the level of production.

Mr. Higgins

Does the hon. Lady agree that the statistics which are at present provided are quite inadequate to appraise the Government's incomes policy? Would she also agree that the relevant figures are for earnings and not wage rates? Should we not be provided with figures for wage drift? What action is the hon. Lady taking to provide these figures so that we may have an idea of the real effect of the Government's incomes policy?

Mrs. Williams

The hon. Member will be aware, as a result of the expanded publication in the Ministry of Labour Gazette, that a number of statistics have been improved; and this improvement is still further in hand. Only recently an official committee of the Departments concerned concluded that by and large the statistics were adequate for the purpose.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Is there not a great weakness concerning the salary position? Is it not true that the Minister does not have a clue about what is happening with salaries?

Mrs. Williams

That arises on a later Question and I will take it then.