HC Deb 30 June 1966 vol 730 cc2170-1
20. Mr. G. Campbell

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs whether he is satisfied with recent results of the Government's prices and incomes policy; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. George Brown

I shall very shortly lay proposals for legislation before the House. I shall also be discussing with both sides of industry ways of making the agreed policy more effective.

Mr. Campbell

Does the First Secretary regard the recent settlement with the seamen as being within the aims of his incomes policy?

Mr. Brown

We have made that clear throughout the discussions that have gone on in connection with this matter. The Pearson Committee inquiry, among other things, had terms of reference that clearly covered this, and we have made it clear that in our view the recommendations on which the dispute was ultimately settled were not only fair, reasonable and just, but in the interests of the seamen, the shipowners and the nation.

Mr. Orme

How does my right hon. Friend see the incomes policy in relation to the settlement for the doctors and that for the seamen? Does he not think that these two settlements are incompatible and show that the prices and incomes policy is not working in the manner in which my right hon. Friend intimated to the House?

Mr. Brown

No, Sir. I do not see it that way at all. In the case of the doctors, as in the case of the seamen, and as in other cases, the issues were considered by an independent body whose views were in turn considered by the Government against the background of the policy. I think that the decision in each case can be held to be in accordance with it. I must point out to my hon. Friend that so long as we have a society in which rewards differ according to the work which one performs, then one is bound to get differing adjudications in matters of this kind.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Can the First Secretary expand a little on the first part of his main Answer for the convenience of the House? Does he expect, for example, to get to the Second Reading before the Summer Recess?

Mr. Brown

I do not think that that is a question for me. It should be put to the Leader of the House.

Sir C. Osborne

Despite pressure from both sides of the House and from outside, will the First Secretary give a promise that he will not abandon this policy, as it is the only hope of economic salvation for this nation?

Mr. Brown

In return for my giving the hon. Gentleman that promise, which I gladly do, can I have a promise from him that he will try to get his hon. and right hon. Friends to help me more?