HC Deb 20 October 1966 vol 734 cc375-6
5. Mr. Wall

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of the Government's economic policies.

Mr. M. Stewart

No, Sir.

Mr. Wall

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree with the Economic Review, which suggests that the rise in output next year will be only fractional? Is not the root cause the Government's curbing of wages and any form of incentive? When will he do something to make it worth while to work harder?

Mr. Stewart

The reason I said "No" to the hon. Gentleman's Question is that I do not believe that this subject, which would cover a very wide range of topics, could be properly or adequately dealt with by a statement and a few questions thereafter, without opportunity for debate. I trust, however, that the opportunity for examination of these matters will arise; I would welcome it.

Mr. Park

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Government's economic policies will not be effective as long as the widespread increases in profits and dividends continue to take place? Will he takes equivalent power of public super- vision and control over profits and dividends to that which he has already taken over wages and salaries?

Mr. Stewart

There are powers, of course, over prices, which affect profits and dividends. Dividends themselves are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr. Peyton

Will the right hon. Gentleman accept our congratulations on the modesty of his first reply and understand that we all hope that that modesty will be communicated to his colleagues?

Mr. Michael Foot

Will my right hon. Friend tell us whether there has been any revision by the Government since the statement of 20th July of the likely figure of unemployment both during the period of redeployment and after, particularly in view of the fact that it is this aspect of the matter which most gravely disturbs hon. Members on this side of the House?

Mr. Stewart

To the question, has there been a revision?, I would say, no. This is a matter, of course, of concern to us all and will be debated in the House on Monday next.