HC Deb 10 July 1967 vol 750 cc71-2
12. Mr. Hunt

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will make a statement on his recent discussions with representatives of the Trades Union Congress, the Confederation of British Industries and the nationalised industries regarding racial discrimination in employment.

Mr. Gunter

The purpose of these meetings was to discuss the best means of promoting racial integration in employment. I can make no further statement at this stage.

Mr. Hunt

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that statement is very disappointing and will do nothing to dispel the widespread impression that his Department is dragging its feet on this issue? Will he please realise that the longer discrimination in employment is allowed to continue, the greater will be the sense of frustration and resentment among those who are affected by it? What positive steps is he going to take now to deal with this potentially explosive situation?

Mr. Gunter

I do not think that my Ministry is dragging its feet at all. We had to have discussions with industry. We have now almost completed those discussions. There are various points of view on how to deal with discrimination in employment, and the matter is now receiving consideration both by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and myself.

Mr. Winnick

In view of the evidence which has come to light recently of discrimination in employment, would not my right hon. Friend agree that it is essential to extend the Act to cover employment, apart from anything else?

Mr. Gunter

I said in my original Answer that I would make no further statement at this stage.

Mr. Maclennan

In view of the growing evidence of racial discrimination in industry, will my right hon. Friend instil some sense of urgency into his dealings with this problem?

Mr. Gunter

My hon. Friend will realise that legislation, if there is to be any, is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. I repeat that it is now receiving deep consideration.