HC Deb 05 April 1967 vol 744 cc213-5
4. Mr. Buchanan-Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when the award for Scottish local government staffs will be paid.

7. Mr. MacArthur

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what guidance he has now given to local authorities in Scotland about the payment of wage awards to their clerical and manual worker employees.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. William Ross)

As regards manual workers, the N.J.I.C. were informed on 28th March that the Government accepted the recommendation of the National Board for Prices and Incomes that the pay of local government manual workers in Scotland could be increased with effect from 6th March, 1967.

As regards the administrative, professional, technical and clerical grades, the N.J.I.C. has today been informed that the Government accept that the increases which it has proposed satisfy the new criteria set out in the White Paper on Prices and Incomes Policy after 30th June, 1967, and that the proposals may be implemented as from 1st July, 1967.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this decision will at last end the discrimination against Scotland and will be welcomed there, and that we are glad that at this late stage he has at last been prepared to stand up and help people in Scotland?

Mr. Ross

The hon. Gentleman is quite wrong. We debated this fully. Within the rules laid down in the last White Paper, there was no discrimination against Scotland. I would remind the hon. Gentleman that if it had been possible to accept the proposal which was first put forward there would have been an in-built discrimination—if he likes to call it that—which would have lasted a year.

Mr. MacArthur

Will the right hon. Gentleman accept that his belated statement is welcome? Will he assure the House that never again will he treat workers in Scotland so shabbily?

Mr. Ross

If the hon. Gentleman would listen properly to Government policy, he would not make statements like that. The new criteria were published on 23rd March, and on 28th March the N.J.I.C. asked for the proposals to be reconsidered; the letter was sent to them this morning.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown

Does my right hon. Friend's reference to manual workers getting the increase from March include the electricians?

Mr. Ross

It includes what I said—the manual workers covered by the N.J.I.C.

Mr. G. Campbell

Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that the different treatment of Scottish as opposed to English local government staffs has been an anomaly or not?

Mr. Ross

The hon. Gentleman knows that we argued this point in a full debate. They were covered by the same rules and dealt with in exactly the same way. It so happens—it was unfortunate—that the local authority people concerned could not reach an agreement to put forward an acceptable proposal until about 16th September.

Mr. Dewar

Has my right hon. Friend any information about whether, in view of this welcome statement, N.A.L.G.O. is likely to continue with its ballot to decide about strike action?

Mr. Ross

I have no information to offer my hon. Friend on that matter.

Forward to