HC Deb 31 October 1966 vol 735 cc5-6
8. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Labour what is the level of unemployment which it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to create in the motor industry.

Mr. Gunter

It is not the Government's policy to create unemployment in the motor industry.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Whether that unemployment is created deliberately or inadvertently, can the right hon. Gentleman say what useful purpose is served from the point of view of our balance of payments by driving men out of this highly important export industry and forcing his own officers to try to place them in such services as ladies' hair-dressing?

Mr. Gunter

The right hon. Gentleman is one of those who have advanced the doctrine that some heat should be taken out of the economy. The home consumption of motor cars was a factor in that overheating. It is impossible to deny that the deflationary measures have contributed to reducing the labour requirements of that industry, and the right hon. Gentleman will be aware that there is a considerable amount of short-time working. Of course there is redundancy and short-time working, but we hope that, in the end, there will be a better-equipped industry.

Mr. Frederic Harris

With B.MC. workers lobbying Members here today, would it not be more fair for a Government Minister to meet them this afternoon, to tell them the whole truth and let them know how things stand for the future?

Mr. Gunter

Not only was publicity given to the fact that they were here—I was made aware of that at 10.30 this morning—but the Prime Minister and I, with other Ministers, will be meeting them some time this afternoon.