HC Deb 28 February 1967 vol 742 cc261-2
Q13. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Prime Minister whether he will place a copy of his speech on economic affairs at Swansea on 3rd February in the Library.

The Prime Minister

I have already done so, Sir.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

In his speech at Swansea, the Prime Minister said that the country would have a choice between the policy of stop-go and a prices and incomes policy related to productivity. Can he tell us what this latter policy is so that we can make the right choice?

The Prime Minister

I think that the hon. Gentleman already knows the answer to his own supplementary question, but he will find details of this in the succession of White Papers published by the Government in relation to the Prices and Incomes Policy. It is surely axiomatic, and accepted by practically the whole House, that if incomes rise in a period above the level of productivity, this is bound to lead not only to inflation but to a difficult foreign exchange position, which was the main reason why stop-go occurred so often in the past.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Would not the Prime Minister agree that it is inconvenient, to say the least, for the House of Commons to read detailed accounts in the newspapers of consultations—which have to be held, of course—on the incomes policy? Will he, therefore, arrange for a statement to be made to the House by the First Secretary of State as soon as possible?

The Prime Minister

I agree that it is inconvenient for the House—indeed, if I may say so, not only for the House. The right hon. Gentleman himself will remember some of the difficulties in the past on these matters. Certainly, as soon as it is possible to make a statement one will be made.