HC Deb 08 March 1966 vol 725 c1908
Q3. Mr. Edward M. Taylor

asked the Prime Minister if he will redefine the responsibilities of the Minister of Labour and the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs in regard to industrial relations and the resolving of disputes relating to wages and working conditions in the public and private sectors of industry.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I think that the responsibilities of my right hon. Friends are sufficiently well known.

Mr. Taylor

Will the Prime Minister not agree that there is a real need to clarify this demarcation problem, because it is almost impossible for the skilled and proved negotiators in the Ministry of Labour to fulfil their tasks effectively when the Minister of Economic Affairs has appointed himself unilaterally as the last resort for wage claims? Will he agree that the problem has been worsened by the absence of specific reference to the Prices and Incomes Bill in the Labour Party manifesto?

The Prime Minister

I cannot agree with the hon. Gentleman at all. If it were merely a question of conciliation and arbitration procedures, the hon. Gentleman would be right. But we have set out, I would have thought with the good will of the whole House—and even the party opposite say something about this in their manifesto—to try to get a prices and incomes policy going. That means the Prices and Incomes Board, and that is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State.