§ Mr. Speaker
Before I call on the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble), it may be convenient to announce that I have selected the third Amendment on the Order Paper, standing in the name of the Prime Minister and the names of some of his right hon. Friends.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Noble (Argyll)
I beg to move,That this House deplores the refusal of the Secretary of State for Scotland to grant the National and Local Government Officers Association pay award, which is being paid in England and Wales.Some people may argue that the point we have taken for this debate is rather a narrow one against the background of Scottish affairs generally in which the people of Scotland are heavily involved, but nevertheless it affects the life and work of about 22,000 people in Scotland. These people are not concentrated in a single industry or factory, but none the less they are important for that reason, for they are scattered through the length and breadth of the whole country and the feeling on this subject reflects that scatter.
These people have been, unfortunately, the victims of the freeze, and this is perhaps a piece of bad luck for which they are not themselves responsible. The Secretary of State for Scotland has said on many occasions that he is protecting Scotland from the effects of the freeze. I think that it would be of help if I relate quickly the time-table of these events, but I do not want to bore the House with a large number of details and dates.
The negotiations started as long ago as June, 1965, when it was quite clear that the situation with regard to the pay of local government employees in Scotland needed revision. Three or four months later, in October, 1965, agreement was reached in the National Joint Coun- 730 cil for a 3½ per cent. increase to be given immediately pending a complete review both of the scales and the salary structure within the industry. Since the review would obviously take a lot of thought and consideration, the immediate award was given to cover the period.
Between October, 1965, and March, 1966, a good deal of work, as happens in this kind of discussion, was carried out in committees and so on. In March, 1966, the formal negotiations began. At the end of May, the employers and the National Association of Local Government Officers were able to come to very close agreement on what they thought necessary, but, because of the early warning system then in operation, they had, of course, to submit their ideas to the Department of Economic Affairs through the Scottish Development Department, and this they did. When they did so, they asked particularly that the settlement should be reached if possible in late June or early July. This was not because they suspected that anything significant was going to happen on 20th July, but because the negotiations had come to a fairly satisfactory conclusion and they hoped to get on with their work.
Obviously, at that time there were considerable difficulties for the Government in accepting the particular form in which the agreement had been reached. The aim was perhaps for a 3½ per cent. increase, which was reasonable, but there were, inevitably, a certain number of specialist cases where the increase was significantly more. I do not think that anyone blames either the Secretary of State or the Department of Economic Affairs for having to look very carefully at this to see whether it fitted in with other arrangements. Therefore, it is not surprising that a certain length of time passed while thoughts passed between the Government and the negotiating body.
But the English agreement was reached on 13th July, and I think that it was not unnatural for the negotiators in the Scottish agreement to realise that if awards had been agreed for England, and as the whole purpose was to try and make the two awards as similar as possible, it was quite reasonable that they should attempt immediately to follow the broad pattern of the English settlement and see 731 if they could get early agreement. Therefore, they moved with considerable speed and called a meeting for 29th July in order to try to reach final agreement on the English pattern of awards.
§ Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
It the Scots negotiators wanted to follow the English pattern, why did they not decide their claim at the same time as the English and put forward the same proposals?
§ Mr. Noble
I do not think that I can speak with absolute certainty for what was in the minds of a large number of people in the local authorities of Scotland, whether employers or employees, but the pattern has been to try to get conditions of service and salary scales broadly comparable in England and Scotland, for the simple reason that in the past there has been a good deal of movement from Scotland to the South, where rather higher wages in some cases were being paid.
As I was saying, the negotiators decided to convene a meeting for 29th July, which was as soon as they reasonably could arrange after the English decision had been announced. But two things happened. On 20th July, the Prime Minister made his statement to the House, and on the very day of the meeting—29th July—the White Paper on Prices and Incomes was issued. Although the meeting was held, they were unable usefully to discuss their proposals because the White Paper was not available in Scotland. So it was not until 13th September that the National Joint Council agreed to the new scales and that they should be then frozen until 16th March.
The White Paper, in paragraphs 29 and 30, envisaged that there should be some exceptions specifically to cover either a severe loss of manpower or gross anomalies, so that the Government, in bringing in the freeze, realised that there must be some loopholes for specially deserving cases. The Secretary of State had promised Scotland that he would shield it from the effects of the freeze, and on both counts—a possible severe loss of manpower and gross anomalies—there was at least a good case to be looked at.
I turn now to the Amendment standing in the name of the Prime Minister and other Members of the Government. I understand that the Under-Secretary of 732 State for Scotland, the hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan), is to move the Amendment and that the Secretary of State for Scotland is holding his fire until the end of the debate. We all realise that then maybe rather more critical for him. The Amendment protests that we on this side are motivated by…petty motives of electoral advantage …in the first place and, in the second place, that we impute—we do not say it in the Motion—discrimination against Scotland. I will examine each of those propositions in turn.
On 20th January this year, N.A.L.G.O. was told for the first time that it would get nothing before 1st July and that even then the whole question of an agreement would have to be renegotiated according to whatever then was the current norm. There was an immediate outburst in Scotland about this. The Opposition put down our Motion criticising the Government and hon. Members opposite took the opportunity, on the day before my hon. Friend the Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. G. Campbell) had an Adjournment debate, quite properly to see the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. They got, as we had had continuously, an absolutely curt but polite bland refusal to consider the position at all.
In the first few days of February following this, Glasgow, not a city where there is often a unanimity of view in the council, unanimously, Progressives and Labour Party alike, passed a resolution saying that the action of the Government was extremely damaging to Scottish local government. On about the same day, the Treasurer of the great city of Dundee wrote to both of Dundee's Members of Parliament and said that the arrangement was "completely unacceptable" and went on to talk of avery real danger of a complete breakdown in local authority administration in Scotland.A day or two later, Aberdeen Council met and the third great city of Scotland unanimously passed a resolution condemning the present situation which the Government, perhaps through no direct fault of their own—that is for hon. Members to decide—had succeeded in achieving.
A great many other local authorities have written to all Scottish Members on 733 both sides of the House. I do not know of one local authority which is supporting the Government on this issue.
§ Mr. Noble
The hon. Gentleman says "Oh, yes". I am delighted that there should be some, and no doubt the hon. Gentleman will tell us about it, but at least all the major cities and the vast number of local authorities who have written to hon. Members on both sides of the House are solidly on our side in this matter.
Is it suggested by the Secretary of State that these authorities are motivated by some curious petty electoral advantage in being unanimously opposed to the Government's policy and, if so, on whose side is the electoral advantage? There is complete unanimity in these councils which in each city are controlled by the Socialists at the moment.
Let us now consider the record inside the House. On 9th February, the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) and the hon. Member for Glasgow, Shettleston (Sir M. Galpern), himself a former Lord Provost of Glasgow, put down a Motion in almost exactly the same terms as that which we have put down for this debate.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)
Will the right hon. Gentleman agree that we put down that Motion first and that the Opposition jumped on our bandwagon?
§ Mr. Noble
I should like to correct the hon. Gentleman. Our first Motion was put down by the Scottish Conservative Members on 30th January and we have merely noted that the terms of his Motion are almost precisely the same as ours. Does he feel that he is activated by petty electoral advantage? If he does, there are many of his colleagues who have signed his Motion, and they were quite right to do so.
But, apart from what has happened within these four walls, the hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. John Robertson), who is not in his place at the moment —perhaps he is having some electoral exercise elsewhere today—made a speech in Paisley on 12th February when he was reported as saying: 734Every Scottish Member of Parliament would back N.A.L.G.O.'s case".This was something said not by one of my hon. Friends, but by an hon. Member opposite. He used the word "every"; we shall have to see in the Lobby tonight whether his forecast, which he presumably discussed with his hon. Friends, comes true.
But there will be an even greater interest in this, because we have all read with some interest and a little amusement the comments by the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) in the papers today. He said:I am sick and tired of Ministers of the Government who state in the tea rooms and corridors that if they were not Ministers they would abstain".I have not had a chance of discussing in the Tea Room or Corridors with Ministers of the Scottish Office what they have been saying, but the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East—and I believe that he, too, is in Scotland today—will not be able to feel sick and tired if he notices some of his colleagues who are Ministers not living up to what they have been saying in the tea rooms. But it is arrant nonsense to talk about petty electioneering in this context when practically every hon. Member who has opened his mouth has said exactly the same thing on the subject.
§ Mr. Fraser
Surely the right hon. Gentleman knows that there are hon. Members who have said exactly the opposite. He knows that; why does he not acknowledge it?
§ Mr. Noble
I accept that perhaps I ought to know it, but I am bound to admit that I have not myself heard it. I shall listen to the debate with interest, especially to the Government Front Bench speaking more officially than those who have spoken to me in the Tea Room or Corridors.
To appreciate the complete idiocy of the Government's Amendment, I commend to the House reading what the Leader of the House said at business 735 questions on 16th February, when he said:We have talked on this subject for some time. If it were true that Scotland is in a state of near revolt on this issue, then it would be a grave dereliction of duty on the part of the Opposition Front Bench not to take some of its Supply time to discuss it.He went on:There is a great deal of hypocrisy going on about this."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th February, 1967; Vol. 741, c. 825.]Perhaps my noble Friend the Member for Edinburgh, North (Earl of Dalkeith), who used the word "revolt", might have been guilty of slight exaggeration in the heat of the moment, but the Secretary of State, who is now laughing, cannot deny that the councils of Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Ayrshire and other councils widely throughout Scotland have all unanimously expressed their worry and apprehension.
§ Mr. Doig
Would the right hon. Gentleman give his authority for saying that Dundee unanimously rejected this and were opposed to it? That is what he said in the course of his speech. The only information I have is a personal letter from the honorary Treasurer of the city of Dundee that no mention of the matter had been made or discussed either in the committee or the corporation itself.
§ Mr. Noble
I will certainly withdraw my comment that it was a unanimous decision, if the hon. Gentleman would like me to do so. Probably I exaggerated in saying that. All that I know of—and it certainly has not been contradicted from Dundee—is that the Dundee Treasurer, as I understand it, wrote, and I imagine that the treasurer wrote expressing the feelings of the Socialist members in Dundee, because it is very well known how closely Dundee Socialist members stick together.
Earl of Dalkeith (Edinburgh, North)
For the sake of the record, I did with great care use the words, "a state of near revolt".
§ Mr. Noble
I think that the Leader of the House used that expression, too. But he did say that if that were so it would be a grave dereliction of duty for us not to use our Supply time to discuss it. He is clearly on record as saying that.
As the Secretary of State knows, we had a meeting with him last week after what the Leader of the House had said. It was right and proper that we should wait for that meeting before we took any action, but as soon as we had had that meeting, and as soon as the Secretary of State was unable to give us any indication of a move in Government thinking, we did exactly what the Leader of the House said we ought to do; we took our first opportunity of taking a Supply day to let the House discuss this very important point.
So if there is any question of hypocrisy, the Leader of the House, and those who have signed this Motion with him, might well study what he said on that date. If they really think that this was pure electioneering, is it not a little odd that it was the Government Front Bench, on the day after the Leader of the House had made his statement, who chose the date of the Pollock by-election. This was entirely within their choosing, and they chose it.
On the second count, I do not want to go into great detail about whether or not we imput discrimination against Scotland in the Motion we have put on the Order Paper. The Secretary of State is clearly very sensitive about this and feels that there is such an imputation. If the cap fits, then he should wear it, because, if I may remind him and the House again, these people who have had their wages frozen happen to be Scotsmen, and the Secretary of State promised the House that he would shield Scotland from the effects of the freeze.
I could speak for a considerable time on other matters about which Scotland does not feel very happy by the action of the Secretary of State recently, but I do not think that it is right to do so as we have comparatively little time. Let me move on to the particular problem that faces the Government today and say straightaway that I appreciate that the problem is certainly not an easy one. I also say that it has got to be solved. It must be solved, because the position 737 is not just that these people have got their agreed rise frozen until the 16th March, or the 1st July, or any other date. There is total uncertainty. They may have to wait for at least another four, five or six months, and they may then find that the norm which the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Department of Economic Affairs have set down is a very low one. Their negotiations will have to start all over again, and they do not know in the least where they are.
It is perfectly clear that in all fields, taken as a whole, wages in England are at the moment running something between 6 per cent. and 9 per cent. above those in Scotland.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. William Ross)
And always have.
§ Mr. Noble
And always have, perhaps.
This, we have been told is one of the main reasons—there are two others, but I do not want to impinge on the later debate today—why we have emigration from our country. The situation today in the local authority field exists because of the fortuitous fact that 13th July was the date on which the England award was agreed and the Scottish award was not agreed in total until September.
I do not think that the Scottish Office or anybody in this House wants to impute blame for holding it up, because I do not think that even the Government knew what was going to happen on 20th July until the 19th, and so no blame should be attached to them. But as a result of N.A.L.G.O., officers in England have received an increase of about £130 in the clerical field and up to £300 in some others.
Anyone who has worked in this particular area of government knows that there are certain types of officers who are extremely scarce both in Scotland and in England. These include welfare officers, inspectors of weights and measures, sanitary inspectors, and so on.
There is, and always has been, very great competition between the two countries in order to attract the best people. Every Scottish authority is aware that in the ensuing four, five, six or seven months —this is the problem because nobody knows for how long this will go on—that it may well lose those key men that 738 are sought after because wage scales south of the Border are so significantly higher.
I believe that no one in the House, however strongly he may feel about it, would want to support some of the calls that have been made for strike action, and so on. I, for one, would deplore that. But it is absolutely essential for the Secretary of State to find a solution to this problem, and to find it soon, immediately.
I know that it is always awkward for the Government to have to give way on a problem, but occasionally, if one has to lose face, that is better in the long term than doing an obvious injustice to people who are very important to the local authority world in Scotland. The Government have had a great deal of time to think about this problem. It has come to a head in the last three weeks or a month, but I have given the House the timetable on how long these negotiations went on.
It was, after all, on 20th July that the freeze started, and the Secretary of State must have known that there was very nearly an agreement in the N.J.I.C. at that time. He certainly did know that agreement in that body was reached by 13th September He also knew about the anomaly which was created and about the problems which would be created by such wide wage differences across the Border.
He knew, therefore, that there was a grave danger of emigration of absolutely key men from Scottish local authorities. He knew early in February the position that had been taken up by the great cities of Scotland and by at least the bulk of local authorities. Therefore, at any time in the last seven and a half months he could have implemented his promise to shield Scotland from the effects of the freeze.
He has been seen and heard to be doing nothing on this promise. The most dramatic effect of the freeze in Scotland seems to have been to have turned our Secretary of State into a block of ice. Ail Scotland would welcome a change at the top.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Bruce Millan)
I beg to move, in line 1, to leave out from 'deplores' 739 to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:'the action of Her Majesty's Conservative Opposition in endeavouring to exploit for petty motives of electoral advantage the genuine national feelings of the Scots by its unjustified imputation of discrimination against Scotland'.I thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) was in an extremely subdued mood this afternoon. We had understood that his speech was to be a slashing attack on the Government. I have never heard a weaker and thinner speech introducing a motion of Censure in this House at any time since I have been here, which is since 1959.
The right hon. Gentleman said three times, I think, that my right hon. Friend had stated that he intended to protect Scotland from the effects of the freeze. In fact, my right hon. Friend never said any such thing. He said—and this is what he has done—that he would protect Scotland from the effects of the squeeze, which is an entirely different thing. [Interruption.] I know that the right hon. Gentleman does not understand this, but the squeeze is the other economic measure taken by the Government. The freeze is the prices and incomes policy which has been laid out in two White Papers, the first one about the standstill, and the second one about the period of severe restraint.
§ Mr. Millan
No. There is nothing in either of these White Papers which says anything about excluding Scotland, or any other part of the United Kingdom, from the effects of the freeze, but I shall return to this in a moment.
I want, first, to lay the background to this debate and to the decision taken by the Government. This is to be found in paragraph 34 of the White Paper on the Period of Severe Restraint, which says:Where, however, a commitment existed on or before 20th July to review pay with effect from a later date, but the amount of any improvement had not been determined by 20th July, the operative date should be deferred until at least 1st July, 1967 …The agreement for English local government staffs, was reached on 13th July, 1966 and was, therefore, not caught by this provision, but the agreement for Scottish local authority staffs was not reached until 740 13th September, 1966—and I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman at least on this, that he did not muddle the dates as nearly everyone else who has entered into this dispute has— and, therefore, this agreement was caught by the terms of the White Paper. The claim for Scottish local government workers therefore falls to be considered under the criterion to he laid down for the period following 1st July, 1967.
§ Sir John Gilmour (Fife, East)
The hon. Gentleman quoted from paragraph 34 of the White Paper. Would not he agree that paragraph 29 makes an exception on the distribution of manpower?
§ Mr. Millan
I shall come to that. I shall answer not only the points made this afternoon by the right hon. Gentleman, few as they were, but the other criticisms which have been made of the Government's decision on this.
It seems that the case against the Government's decision, if it is to be deployed at all, must be deployed on one of two grounds. It could be deployed on the basis which involves the rejection of the whole of the Government's incomes policy, and, in particular, the standstill period of severe restraint. I shall not argue this issue at any length, because it has been exhaustively debated in the House and the House has come to a decision about it. All I say is that as a result of our prices and incomes policy, and the other measures which we have taken, prices and incomes have been stabilised and the economy has steadily improved, particularly with regard to exports, and that the Government are determined to see that this improvement is continued and to develop their prices and incomes policy to that end.
The alternative argument is that there are special circumstances in the case of the Scottish local authority workers which would make it right or reasonable for them to be excluded from the strict letter of the White Paper, or at least treated as one of the exceptions allowed for in the White Paper. It is this case which is the real issue in this matter, and with which I shall deal in some detail. I shall demonstrate that there are, in fact, no grounds for exceptional treatment in this claim according to the White Paper, or, indeed, in the matter of equity.
First, I would like to deal with the question of dates, because the suggestion 741 has been made quite widely that if it had not been for Government intervention in the normal process of negotiations between the unions and the employers the Scottish agreement would have been reached at the same time as the English one, and there would have been no difficulty about its implementation.
If one looks at the record in previous years of similar negotiations, one sees right away that the time lag in 1966 was not at all unusual. In 1959, for example, the English increase was from 1st April, the Scottish one from 16th July, a gap of three and a half months. In 1960, the English increase was from 1st September, the Scottish from 1st December, a gap of three months. In 1962, there was a gap of one month, and in subsequent years there have been gaps of about six weeks. Any gap, therefore, between the English and Scottish settlements in 1966 was not in any way unusual, and certainly had nothing to do with Government intervention, and this also becomes clear when we look at the actual dates involved in 1966.
These agreements and the English agreement were negotiated under the early warning system under which the employers side of the National Joint Industrial Council was under an obligation to give notice to the Government of an impending settlement. This was done in England on 4th March. It was not done in Scotland until 27th May, a gap of nearly three months. The right hon. Gentleman said that negotiations started a long time before that. This is true. I understand that they started in the middle of 1965, but the Government were in no sense and in no way a party to these negotiations. We were neither represented, nor had we any influence at all over the procedure of the negotiations. They were a private matter between the two sides of the Joint Industrial Council, and, as I say, the first notification that we had of this was on 27th May.
§ Mr. Gordon Campbell (Moray and Nairn)
There is one point which has been ventilated, and to which we would like to know the answer. It has been said that the reason the Scottish notification was not until later was that they started negotiations first and the procedure for notification under the voluntary 742 system had not even been brought in when they started.
§ Mr. Millan
The hon. Gentleman has got it wrong. I shall answer all these points; and it would help if there were not too many interruptions, because if there are I shall speak for far too long. What the hon. Gentleman said is not correct.
The negotiations in 1966 followed a similar pattern to that of the previous negotiations. This is not seriously in dispute. The claim submitted on 27th May involved a complete restructuring of grades within the A.P.T.C. classes, including changes in the incremental steps within each grade. It was therefore not possible to say without further information what was the extent of the general increase in pay which was envisaged in the claim.
We therefore invited the employers side of the N.J.I.C., which was communicating with us in the normal way, to give us further information showing the percentage increases at each incremental step for each grade of salary concerned. This it did on 17th June, and it is only from this date that the timetable really seriously began to operate.
The claim was rejected by the Government on 8th July without any undue delay. It must be remembered that this is a complicated matter. The gap was only between 17th June and 8th July. The claim was rejected on the grounds that it did not conform to the prices and incomes policy. I shall explain in a moment why this was so. The standstill intervened on 20th July, and it was not, as the right hon. Gentleman said, until 16th September that the N.J.I.C. reached a revised agreement providing for a new salary structure.
There is no doubt that the present agreed claim was not reached before 20th July. It has been argued that this does not really matter, and that dates are only a technicality, because the Scottish local government workers are doing the same kind of job as their equivalents in England, and that they should be entitled to the same increases. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] This argument rests on the basis that the Scottish claim was roughly equivalent to the claims agreed for England and Wales, and that the salary structure in Scotland is the same as 743 that south of the Border. However, neither of these propositions is in the least true. In the first place, the structure of salary scales in Scotland is quite different to the structure south of the Border. I have all the details here and will be glad to quote them to hon. Gentlemen if need be.
Obviously, I would not claim for one moment that there are no similarities. It would be a remarkable thing if two equivalent bodies of workers had salary scales which never met at any particular point. That is not the position but the fact is that the structure is not similar except in minor details—it is substantially different. Secondly, to deal with the claims themselves, the English settlement was for 7 per cent. over a period of two years and was in accordance with the norm being applied at that time of 3½ per cent. per year. The Scottish settlement as proposed and intimated to us, with details on 17th June, showed a wide variation in the increase proposed. It was not a straight increase, but the increases proposed varied from between 4 per cent. to 9 per cent. This seemed to represent an average increase of between 6 per cent. and 7 per cent.
The employers' side however maintain that the actual increase worked out at between 5½ per cent. and 6 per cent. and we agreed to consider the proposals on that basis. I want to emphasise that this was not said to be an agreement which would be held firm over two years as was the English one. The English agreement fitted in with the norm of 3½ per cent. per year. The Scottish agreement, at least in the minds of N.A.L.G.O., because it has admitted this, in a circular which all hon. Members received, dated 28th February, was conceived of as one lasting for only one year and was well beyond the normal norm of that 3½ per cent.
This is admitted by N.A.L.G.O. Despite an earlier communication from N.A.L.G.O. which sought to give the impression that the claim was only for 3½ per cent., whereas there was no one point of any salary scale, at which the claim was as low, which was as low as 3½ per cent., the facts are not really in dispute. To sum up on this point, it is abundantly clear that the Scottish claim was not the same as the English claim, nor was it anything like it. It was some- 744 thing quite different. It is perfectly true that the later proposals in September were much nearer to the English claim, but even then there were substantial differences.
§ Mr. Millan
The point is that it averaged out at 7 per cent., which was in accordance with the norm. The Scottish proposals averaged out, on the employers' and unions' figures, and we thought that they were rather higher, at between 5½ per cent. and 6 per cent. and was conceived of as a separate claim lasting for one year. It was an entirely different claim, and there is no serious dispute about this. The figures, if published, would demonstrate this.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
The Minister is talking in terms of percentages. Can he tell us the total sum involved?
§ Mr. Millan
I am unable to give the exact sum, but if my hon. Friend wants this no doubt it can be given by my right hon. Friend at the end of the debate. I am making the point that the Scottish and English settlements were not by any means the same.
It has also been argued that this does not matter very much, because in the past claims have been made at the same kind of level between England and Scotland That is not true at all, as anyone who cares to look at the figures will see. For example, when the employers' side of the National Joint Industrial Council sent up, on 27th May, and later on 17th June, their arguments substantiating the proposals that it was then putting forward, it quoted figures for the movement of local government salaries between 1962 and 1965. These are not my figures, but they are interesting.
For English local government employees the increases between these years varied from 9.1 per cent. to 13.5 per cent., but in Scotland the equivalent increases varied between 11.4 per cent. and 18 per cent.—substantially more. Therefore within these years the Scottish employees had 745 not received the same increases as the English, but had received rather larger increases.
These are the figures from the N.J.I.C. and are not something which I have selected to support the Government's case. Another argument which has been used is: why should we have separate Scottish and English negotiations at all? Why not have United Kingdom negotiations? N.A.L.G.O. has claimed in a recent circular, which I think has been sent to every hon. Member, that it has been trying to obtain this, but that the employers have been recalcitrant. It is not for me to intervene and apportion blame. if there is blame, between one side and the other. However, if it is true that the Scottish employers have resisted this, then it is too much for them now to complain —and this is very relevant to what the right hon. Gentleman was saying about motions passed by Scottish local authorities—and criticise the Government for something over which the Government have had absolutely no control.
The important thing about this is that the Government are not involved in any way. It was not our decision that there should be separate negotiations. We are not a party to N.J.I.C., we are not represented there. These are questions which must be decided between the unions, and not just N.A.L.G.O. incidentally, because there are others involved, and the employers. If they have got themselves into this position it has nothing at all to do with the Government.
§ Mr. Millan
That has absolutely nothing to do with the point that I was making, because N.A.L.G.O. made these attempts, according to the information circulated, in 1964, when incidentally the right hon. Gentleman was Secretary of State for Scotland. He did nothing about that then, and I do not blame him for it, because the Government are not involved.
§ Mr. Millan
I will not give way.
746 I want to make another point about this question of separate English and Scottish negotiations. It is all very well for people in Scotland to insist that they should have separate negotiations, or to insist that Scotland should be separately considered, or have separate considerations taken into account. I do not object to that in the least, but it is not possible to do that, on the one hand, and be perfectly happy when one gets either the same as the English, or something better, and then to start moaning and groaning when one comes out in a certain instance somewhat less satisfactory than people south of the Border. If people insist on having separate negotiations, and this is not a matter for the Government but the unions and employers, they have to take, to some extent, the rough with the smooth.
§ Mr. Millan
I will give way in a moment, if the hon. Gentleman has a valid point, which I doubt very much.
It has been argued, and the right hon. Gentleman mentioned this briefly, that the difference between the English and Scottish scales represents a gross anomaly, which ought to be dealt with on that basis, in accordance with the White Paper. The White Paper is very narrowly drawn on this point. The kind of case which is meant to come under this heading is that for example of the colliery overmen and deputies, when there were large groups of men working side by side, one group with a salary increase, and the other without.
This does not apply in the case of the Scottish local government workers, because they are not working side by side with their English colleagues, in the same offices doing the same job. The salary scales in the past have been entirely different, and this has absolutely nothing at all to do with the Government's prices and incomes policy. There has been a good deal of loose talk, and again this is relevant to the White Paper, about large numbers of Scottish local authority workers moving south because of this comparatively small discrepancy in salaries, for a limited period of time. I do not believe that for a minute. I have never heard such exaggerated nonsense as some of the claims made about large droves of people moving South 747 from the town halls in Scotland on this issue. We know that there are shortages of local authority staff in Scotland. There have been for many years. This is not something which has happened within the last year and not something which arises from the Government's prices and incomes policy.
I do not believe that we could possibly justify making an exception here on the basis of the distribution of manpower, which is one of the things which has been argued in terms of the White Paper.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. He tried to argue that the Government had nothing to do with the fact that there were separate negotiations in England and Scotland. Is he not aware that in 1964 representatives of N.A.L.G.O. saw his right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and asked for his support in getting a common negotiation and that they were turned down?
§ Mr. Millan
That was in February 1964. My right hon. Friend was not in the Government then. The right hon. Member for Argyll was Secretary of State for Scotland at that time. It was because those representatives got no change from the right hon. Gentleman that they had to approach members of the then Opposition.
The other charge which has been made —and the right hon. Gentleman was very muted on this matter—is that there has been some kind of special discrimination against Scotsmen almost because they are Scotsmen. This is not only the most absurd argument but easily the nastiest argument we have heard. I want to make it absolutely clear that the local government workers in Scotland have been treated on exactly the same basis as other workers in similar circumstances—I shall give chapter and verse for that—and the fact that they were Scotsmen had nothing at all to do with it.
There have been a number of cases recently when Scottish workers have managed to get ahead of their colleagues in England—for example, argricultural workers, although I do not imagine that that brought very much joy to the farmers on the benches opposite. This applies also to the plumbers and bakers. I could quote a number of other examples. It is very easy to give examples in which 748 Scotland seemed apparently to be falling behind and to forget the other instances in which Scottish workers have gone ahead.
I pointed out that between 1962 and 1965 the percentage increases for local government workers in Scotland were greater than the percentage increases South of the Border.
§ Mr. Millan
N.A.L.G.O. workers have been treated in exactly the same way as other workers in similar circumstances. Of course, there are hard cases. The Government have never pretended for a minute that this policy could be operated without there being hard cases. But the N.A.L.G.O. workers have been treated in exactly the same way as, for example, firemen and National Health Service ancillary staffs in the public sector—that is, Scottish and English—and in the private sector they have been treated in exactly the same way as large groups of workers such as those in retail co-operative societies, food manufacturing and the retail grocery trades. But we have not had Motions of censure from the Opposition about the firemen and National Health Service ancillary staffs. We have heard nothing about the workers in co-operative establishments. We have heard nothing about any of these workers.
This is quite an historic occasion. This is the first occasion on which the Conservative Opposition have posed as defenders of workers in any sense at all. Why is this? Let me come to the Government's Amendment. Why are right hon. and hon. Members opposite getting so excited about N.A.L.G.O.? They do not give a damn about the N.A.L.G.O. workers. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I do not believe for one minute that they are the slightest bit concerned about the N.A.L.G.O. workers.
We all know why this Motion has been tabled. It has nothing to do with the local government staffs or the prices and incomes freeze. There is a very simple reason for it—and we need not be mealymouthed about it. It is because there is a crucial by-election going on in Scotland at the present time.
§ Mr. Millan
I will not give way.
In 1959 the Conservative Party lost three seats in Scotland. In 1964 it lost five seats. In 1966 it lost four seats. It lost others in by-elections in between.
§ Mr. Galbraith
On a point of order. The hon. Gentleman has refused to give way on several occasions, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it not true to say that what he is now saying has absolutely nothing to do with N.A.L.G.O. in Scotland and is therefore out of order?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Eric Fletcher)
I seem to have heard remarks like this across the Floor of the House for many years past.
§ Mr. Millan
What I am saying has everything to do with the Motion. The hon. Gentleman does not like it. He is one of the few—
§ Mr. Noble
I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for at last giving way. Has it occurred to him that this debate is taking place because on 16th February the Leader of the House—and I read what he said to the House—refused to give us an earlier debate? That was before the Pollok by-election was even thought of.
§ Mr. Millan
The right hon. Gentleman is niggling now. He knows very well why this Motion was tabled and the circumstances in which it was tabled.
The Conservative Party, politically speaking, is a joke in Scotland. It is completely discredited. It is bereft of all principle and of all ideas. It has been rejected time and time again by the Scottish electors. This Motion is a blatant attempt to make party capital out of a serious issue. It is a blatant attempt to curry favour with the electors of Scotland. It has been rejected before, and I know that it will be rejected again with contempt, and the House will reject its Motion with the same contempt.
§ 5.27 p.m.
§ Mr. N. R. Wylie (Edinburgh, Pentlands)
The speech to which we have just listened was one of the most disgraceful I have ever heard in the House. I am not usually in the habit of making 750 statements of that kind. I also think that it was a most blatant example of special pleading on the part of the Government which reveals how sensitive they are about the position in which they find themselves concerning local government staffs. When a Government has to fall back on the kind of technical arguments which the Under-Secretary of State had to fall back on, there is something wrong somewhere. His was not the kind of speech which will impress the people of Scotland or the local government staffs in Scotland one little bit.
Let me go over some of the points which the hon. Gentleman made. I will endeavour to be as quick as I can because I know that many hon. Members wish to take part in the debate. The hon. Gentleman said that there is a basic distinction between the structure of the salary scales in Scotland and in England. I do not know in what detail there are variations. I dare say that there are bound to be variations. But, by and large, all our information is that the settlement reached in September 1966 was to put local government staff in Scotland more or less into the same position as local government staff in England, and it was because the earlier request which N.A.L.G.O. made in Scotland took them, in the eyes of the Department of Economic Affairs, beyond the position in England and beyond the norm that the initial application was rejected.
It is said that paragraph 30 of the White Paper Cmnd. 3150 was narrowly drawn and was not really designed to meet this situation. What the paragraph says is:… pay increases will not in general be regarded as justified during the period of severe restraint on the grounds of comparison with the level of remuneration for similar work or on the grounds of narrowing of differentials".It goes on to say:There may be exceptional circumstances in which some immediate improvement in pay is imperative to correct a gross anomaly.If this is not a gross anomaly, I do not know what is. Here we have 10 per cent. of the local government staffs of the United Kingdom being treated on an entirely different basis from 90 per cent. who happen to be in England and Wales.
These people are doing exactly the same kind of work. A town clerk in 751 Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee or Aberdeen is doing precisely the same kind of work as a town clerk in any other part of the country.
§ Mr. Wylie
The right hon. Gentleman tells me that they are not covered and that I am wrong. I apologise. That is the kind of technical argument with which we are confronted.
Let us forget about town clerks. Sanitary inspectors do the same kind of work in England as they do in Scotland. My information is that a qualified sanitary inspector on the maximum grade in England is getting £1,665 a year, whereas his contemporary in Scotland gets only £1,330. This is the kind of small discrepancy that the Under-Secretary told us all the fuss was about. If we do not do something to bring those salary scales into line with the 90 per cent. of salary scales in the United Kingdom, the position of local government staffs in Scotland will be impossible.
I am certain that I am on sound ground in saying that nearly all local government staffs in Scotland are under-staffed. In many cases they are running at about 33⅓ per cent. of their establishment. That is not a situation which can be allowed to continue. I know also that in many cases they are up to that level of establishment only because they rely on the services of elderly or older staffs who will shortly retire. Although one does not want to anticipate a later debate this evening, the drain of local government staffs from Scotland into England is something about which we must think seriously. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) has said, unless something is done on this issue—and something could be done—the problem will become acute.
Surely there is an outlet for the Government. One recognises the difficulty if one attempts to put the economy into a straitjacket and somebody who comes along just after 20th July fails to get something which somebody who came just before that date succeeds in getting. This is not in any way comparable with the position of firemen, or National Health staffs. As far as I know, although I am subject to correction, firemen in 752 England do not get one scale and firemen in Scotland get another. As far as I know, National Health staffs in England are not on one scale and National Health staffs in Scotland on another scale because of the effects of 20th July. If that were the case, these would be proper analogies to make.
There is no comparison in this situation between local government staffs, on the one hand, and firemen and National Health staffs, on the other hand. I understand that none of these categories have got their increases, because both English and Scotland claims came after 20th July. The comparison, therefore, is not a proper one to make.
I implore the Government, not for selfish political reasons or anything like that, to see whether it is not possible to find a way out of this difficulty, perhaps by invoking the provisions of paragraph 30. I am sure that the Secretary of State, with the influence which we would all like to think that he had in the Cabinet, could succeed in inducing his right hon. Friends to operate paragraph 30 and get something done in the interest of the people of Scotland.
§ 5.34 p.m.
§ Mr. Thomas Steele (Dunbartonshire, West)
I would not like to comment on the speech of the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble), because my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary dealt with it most effectively. I would say to my hon. Friend that I feel like the man who married the widow with eleven children: I have nothing to add. My hon. Friend's speech was most effective and he is to be complimented on it.
The hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Wylie) dealt purely with the question of discrimination. He did not deal with the question of the economy or with dates or technicalities, as his right hon. Friend the Member for Argyll had done. He dealt purely with the question of discrimination.
I can understand the Opposition taking advantage of this opportunity to berate the Government. When a Government are having difficulties and problems, one does not blame the Opposition for taking the opportunity to discuss them. When we on this side were in Opposition, we did exactly the same. Therefore, I 753 have no criticism of the Opposition in doing this, but they made a very poor job of their attempt.
I am disappointed that my hon. Friends have put down the Amendment, because it seems to me that they are trying to get the best of both worlds. I can understand my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes). He has been against every Government which has been in power since I first came to the House of Commons. That is his natural attitude. My hon. Friend the Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. W. Baxter) is following in his footsteps.
Others of my hon. Friends, however, who have put their names to the Amendment are trying to get the best of both worlds. On 20th July, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced the policy that had to be pursued. On 26th and 27th July, we debated that policy in the House of Commons and it was supported by hon. Members on this side, including my hon. Friends the Members for South Ayrshire and West Stirlingshire, my hon. Friend the Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Manuel) and others. They all supported the policy outlined by the Prime Minister on 20th July.
Then we had Part IV of the Prices and Incomes Bill, which was also supported by some of my hon. Friends. I am, therefore, surprised that they are prepared, in effect, to support the Government in the policy which they have announced but are not prepared to support its implementation.
§ Mr. Steele
Yes, I usually support the Government. I never try to get the best of both worlds. I do not support the Government in their general policy and then refuse to support them when that policy is implemented.
Naturally, I am not unsympathetic towards the claim. When this decision was announced, my hon. Friends the Members for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) and Aberdeen, South (Mr. Dewar) and I visited my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and put to him what, we thought, were the fears of the N.A.L.G.O. officers in Scotland. We were anxious to be assured that in 754 the decision of the Government on this matter there should be no unfairness and no discrimination and that the decision was made in line with the policy laid down by the Government. We discussed this matter with my right hon. Friend on 30th January. To my satisfaction, we got assurances that the decision was neither unfair nor showed discrimination and that it was in line with the policy laid down.
Those people who do not accept the general policy of the Government naturally can argue in many other ways. But those of us who accepted this policy on 20th July and are prepared to support it now have asked anyone who opposes it to give us evidence of any other group of workers being treated differently from the Scottish members of N.A.L.G.O. So far, we have had no evidence to that effect.
Something has been said about the timing. I was interested to note that, in his speech, the right hon. Gentleman did not accuse D.E.A. or the Scottish Office of delays in negotiations. However, arguments have been put forward, there have been letters in the Press and letters which I have received, inferring that the cause of the difficulties was the delay either in the Scottish Office or at D.E.A.
When my hon. Friend and I went to see the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, we armed ourselves with the case of the National and Local Government Officers Association which we obtained from the headquarters of that Association. In addition, we had other documents from Mr. Anderson, who is the General Secretary of N.A.L.G.O. We based our arguments on its case to ensure that no discrimination should take place. That document states quite clearly:For the last 12 months, the Joint Industrial Council has been reviewing its salaries agreement, but timed its negotiations thereon so that both the Employers Side and the Staff Side should be aware of the position reached in the negotiations then also proceeding in the National Joint Council for England and Wales. This was done in order to ensure that any agreement ultimately reached had a close link with that reached in the National Joint Council. This, of course, meant that of necessity each stage of the negotiations in Scotland had to take place after the comparable stage of the negotiations in England and Wales.In that document, it is made quite clear that no settlement in Scotland could 755 have taken place until after 13th July. It goes on:This conforms to the traditional and historical approach, whereby over the last 20 years agreements have first been reached in the English Council followed closely after by agreements in the Joint Industrial Council for Scotland.It is quite clear that the Association is not prepared to apportion any blame to D.E.A. or the Scottish Office, and any accusation of delay is quite nonsensical. The Association has accepted responsibility, and its argument to D.E.A. in the first instance was one which said, "This has been done for England. Please do it for Scottish members as well." That is an admission that an agreement was not possible before 13th July.
We have to make up our minds whether we accept the need for a deadline. Hon. Members opposite do not agree with the policy and, therefore, are against the whole thing. Those like myself who accept the policy have to accept the necessity for a deadline, and that deadline was 20th July of last year.
Quite recently, I had a joint meeting with representatives from the two constituencies of Dunbartonshire, East and Dunbartonshire, West. Many of the Government's critics within our own movement were arguing about the difficulties of Health Service employees, a group of workers which has been mentioned already today, and it was said that they were angry because they have had to have a standstill of nine months. That applies to England as well as to Scotland, but they felt that, as they are some of the lowest paid workers in the country, they have a grievance.
All that I could do was, first of all, to indicate the necessity for it, and I substantiated my argument on the ground that the deadline applied to everyone, with no exception. If I had said that the deadline was to apply to everyone who was not a member of N.A.L.G.O., clearly they would not have been prepared to accept the policy.
§ Mr. Brewis
While we all agree that there must be a deadline, surely there has been a failure on the part of the Secretary of State for Scotland to ensure that an exception was made for equivalent people in Scotland so that they could 756 have exactly the same rise as their opposite numbers in England had received. He must have known that the dates of awards often were two months apart; yet nothing was done about it.
§ Mr. Steele
The hon. Gentleman admits that we must have a deadline, but he is saying that those who fall on the wrong side of it should be treated as exceptional cases. [Interruption.] That is exactly what he is saying. If the hon. Gentleman had not interrupted me, I was going on to admit that, wherever a deadline is selected, there are bound to be people who think that it is unfair.
From my own experience in the Ministry of National Insurance, I can say that there was trouble every day about this conception of a deadline. The decision whether a man was 59 years and 11 months or 60 applied in all cases. Immediately a deadline is decided upon, some people will fall on one side of it and some people on the other, and, if there is any discrimination, clearly it is against those who fall on the wrong side. However, to argue for an exception in the case of members of N.A.L.G.O. is to destroy the whole basis of the policy.
The hon and learned Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands dealt wholly with discrimination. His argument was that, in effect, officers in Scotland had been treated differently from those in England and Wales. However, it is interesting to note that, in the official documents which we have received, the Association did not use the word "discrimination". It used the word "unfair".
I am prepared to accept that there is bound to be a sense of unfairness. But, if there is discrimination, that discrimination has existed for the last 20 years. It is clear that the Scottish officers have always had to wait six weeks or three months before getting an increase which has been granted in England. They have always had to wait until some time after their English colleagues have had it. Therefore, the discrimination has existed for 20 years, and people in Scotland have suffered as a consequence.
§ Mr. Russell Johnston (Inverness)
Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that this discrimination should continue?
§ Mr. Steele
In all my arguments I have always indicated that we ought not to 757 have any separation of the economic development of Scotland and England, and that applies in the sphere of trade unions as much as anywhere else. I am the official candidate of a trade union which would never agree to separate negotiations for Scotland and England. We used to have separate negotiations for the miners. The nationalisation of the mines stopped that. We have separate negotiations for the farm workers. In the main, Scottish farm workers get their increases about six months later than their English colleagues.
For a time I looked after the interests of the Scottish probation officers. Their argument was that they were treated separately and were not given the same salaries and conditions as their colleagues in England. This was because of N.A.L.G.O., who objected—the very people for whom we are supposed to be fighting today. The Scottish probation officers had to be members of N.A.L.G.O. Their salaries and conditions were organised and negotiated by N.A.L.G.O., who was not prepared to allow Scottish probation officers to negotiate through the national organisation for probation officers.
§ Mr. Steele
I am sorry if I have misled the House. I was not dealing with the situation of N.A.L.G.O. wanting to have negotiations with local authorities; I was dealing only with the Scottish probation officers. They had to be members of N.A.L.G.O., and N.A.L.G.O. was not prepared to agree to allow the Scottish probation officers to have their agreements and conditions of pay negotiated by the national body.
I would have liked to quote in more detail the cases referred to briefly by my hon. Friend showing that certain Scottish workers have benefited as compared with their English colleagues, in that their increases are now in operation whereas they are not in operation for the English workers. Plumbers are an example. I understand why the Opposition have put down the Motion. I appreciate their argument, but I say to my hon. Friends who intend to support the Opposition 758 Motion that I hope they will have second thoughts; otherwise it will be clear that although they are prepared to support the Government in their general policy they have not the courage or the guts to support the implementation of that policy.
§ 5.53 p.m.
§ Sir Fitzroy Maclean (Bute and North Ayrshire)
I will refrain from commenting on the lecture which the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Steele) has just delivered to his hon. Friends on the question of Parliamentary ethics; it must be encouraging for the Government to find somebody of his stature who supports them wholeheartedly on something. Nor shall I take up time by going over ground which has already been adequately covered by my hon. Friends.
We generally agree that an injustice has been done. Because of the Government's decision about 20,000 local government officers in Scotland are to be paid at markedly lower rates than their 200,000 opposite numbers in England and Wales for doing the same jobs. If that is not unfair discrimination against Scotland I do not know what is. I do not impute that; I state it as a fact. If the Under-Secretary or his right hon. Friend takes the line that this manifest injustice is simply a normal result of the arbitrary deadline imposed by the Government's wage freeze—as the hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, West suggested—my answer is that it was the intervention of the Department of Economic Affairs on 7th May and its insistence that a Scottish settlement must follow the lines of the English settlement which was responsible for delaying negotiations beyond the start of the freeze.
Particularly illustrative and characteristic of the Government's attitude to Scotland was the remark of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster that it is nothing new for Scotland to have to wait for two months. We had the same comment from the Under-Secretary. We did not need the hon. Gentleman to tell us that. We are now concerned with the question how to right the wrong that almost all of us agree has been done. Even the Secretary of State must have some glimmering of an idea that all is not well. It is just that he is not prepared to risk a show-down with his English colleagues. 759 I am proud to have in my constituency Rothesay Town Council, which has had the courage to force the Government's hand on this issue by deciding to fulfil its moral obligation towards its employees by giving them the pay increase which we all agree is due to them. The interesting thing about the council's decision is that it is not only courageous and morally right; it is absolutely legal. The Secretary of State may huff and puff—and he has done both—but he has no authority to stop the local authority. Under Parts I, II and III of the Act the Government's powers are purely exhortatory. The sting of this piece of legislation lies in the tail, or near the tail—in Part IV. If the Government want to invoke Part IV they must do so by means of an Order, for which they must get Parliamentary approval within 28 days. Until they have got that, Rothesay Town Council's action will remain quite legal.
I hope that in the face of the arguments advanced today the Secretary of State will not be foolish or unjust enough to invoke Part IV. When the Government got into a mess over Malta and the Maltese began to bring pressure to bear on them they had to climb down. It was not a very dignified performance —the Minister without Portfolio was made to look rather a fool, but he must be accustomed to that by now—but at least it was better than a head-on clash, which would have found the Government both at a disadvantage and in the wrong.
I cannot help feeling that the Secretary of State would be well advised to do the same over Bute. He might even like to send the Minister without Portfolio as a peace emissary, because the Rothesay Town Council is not letting itself be summoned to St. Andrew's House.
Mr. Edward M. Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)
Is my hon. Friend aware that Rothesay Town Council is not alone? I have received a message saying that the Aberdeen Corporation Finance Committee has decided to pay its N.A.L.G.O. staff on 16th March. This decision has still to be ratified by the Corporation, but Rothesay is no longer alone.
§ Sir F. Maclean
That is very courageous on the part of yet another local 760 authority. If the Government want to take it out on Rothesay and any other local authority which may follow her example—if they want to punish these councils for their actions—they will have to introduce an Order. That will provide not only my hon. Friends and I but hon. Members opposite with a chance to show where they stand. The hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. John Robertson) has said, with commendable forthrightness, that every Scottish Member of Parliament will back N.A.L.G.O's cause. I can think of one or two who will not, but the hon. Member was certainly speaking for this side of the House. Was he really speaking for his hon. Friends, or will they—in the words of one of them —allow themselves to be treated as unthinking lobby fodder and blindly obey a three-line Whip? By the way, where are they? Many of them have been absent. Perhaps they are ashamed to show themselves.
A couple of days ago, five or six dozen hon. Gentlemen opposite managed to follow the dictates of their consciences over defence. I did not agree with them, but I admired their independence of spirit. I would end by asking, why should they not do the same on yet another question of principle?
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
The former Secretary of State who opened this debate—
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
On a point of order. May I draw your attention, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to the fact that there is a body of opinion on this side of the House who do not quite agree with the Government on this question? Is it not the custom that a minority, and an influential minority, should be allowed to have a say?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
All hon. Members, I hope, will have an opportunity of putting their point of view.
§ Mr. Woodburn
I recognise that some people on this side ally themselves with the Tories in attacking the Government and that is normal in our political affairs.
The former Secretary of State for Scotland, in opening the debate, apologised almost in such terms as to justify the Prime Minister's Amendment, so effectively, moved by my hon. Friend. I 761 am sure that it must be a unique occasion for the two hon. Members for Ayr to be embracing and supporting each other in an attack on the Government. So we are being entertained by variety at least.
Everybody agrees that it is unfortunate that N.A.L.G.O. fell on the wrong side of the date-line, but if hon. Members opposite are to use that argument, they will find that it applies to old-age pensioners and soldiers who missed their pension by a day. In all walks of life, somebody suffers when a line is drawn. This is a principle. It is disgraceful that the Conservative Opposition should exploit a difficulty of this kind for their own political ends. The hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) did it so blatantly and openly as to prove the necessity for the Prime Minister's Amendment.
This is contrary to the desire of N.A.L.G.O. The letter from N.A.L.G.O. deplores the use of its dispute by the Conservatives for political expediency—
§ Mr. Noble
That is a total travesty of what N.A.L.G.O. said. It said that this debate should not be used for political purposes. An hon. Gentleman opposite accused me of being mute in my attack on his right hon. Friend. I could have made the attack 40 times as strong and been party political, but I chose not to.
§ Mr. Woodburn
I took it that it was as a result of the N.A.L.G.O. letter that the right hon. Gentleman was so apologetic for this Motion, and I gave him credit for that, because it showed that his conscience at least was active.
It is unfortunate that the Scots are paid less than their colleagues in England, but it is no good blaming the Government for this. For 100 years under Tory rule the Scots were always paid less than the English, because wherever the employers had Home Rule in paying their employees they paid them less. It is only since a Labour Government introduced the National Health Service that Scottish workers have begun to come up to the English level of payment. This case of N.A.L.G.O. is not unique. In almost every case where Scottish employers have Home Rule in paying their workers, they either pay them less or pay them later at the same rate as in England.
762 This is why the unions—the A.E.U., the N.U.R., the T.G.W.U. and the miners —would fight to the death against Home Rule in the decision of their wages. This is what we are suffering at the moment, and it is what N.A.L.G.O. is suffering. It is not the Government who are guilty. If any guilty men are involved in this, it is the Scottish employers of N.A.L.G.O. who refuse to have national negotiations and pay the same rates at the same time as in England.
I have had some experience of this. The first job which I had as Secretary of State was to preside over a meeting to decide how the firemen's wages were to be negotiated. They were to be handed back to the local authorities. The fire brigade officers and the firemen wanted national negotiations on a British scale. The Scottish local authorities, represented by Sir Andrew Murray, wanted wages decided in Scotland.
I put certain questions to him to clear up the reason for this. Did the Scottish local authorities want to pay the firemen more? That aroused great laughter at the meeting, because everyone knew that that was the last thing they wanted I asked whether they wanted to pay the firemen less. They did not admit that, although it was nearer the truth. Did they want to pay them the same? If so, would they do it at the same time or six months later? If they were to pay them the same, who would conduct the negotiations—the English representatives? Then, as the right hon. Gentleman said, the Scots would follow the English after the latter had conducted the negotiations.
I believe that the Scots are entitled to as much as the English get. They are entitled to be in at the negotiations when these wages are settled and not six months later. When the National Health Service was established, its wages and salaries were settled by the Whitley Council. In some cases in Scotland, we had to double the salaries of people working in hospitals, because Scotland ran all these things on the cheap and the Scots were paid far less than the English. It would have been impossible for us to agree that people working in the National Health Service in Scotland should get less than those who were working in England.
I know that this applies to N.A.L.G.O. too, but the people who prevented 763 N.A.L.G.O. from having the right to national negotiations are the guilty men in this case and not the Secretary of State—
§ Mr. William Baxter (West Stirlingshire)
Would my right hon. Friend not concede that this is not N.A.L.G.O.'s responsibility, because N.A.L.G.O. wanted to come into the national negotiating body, but that it was the local authorities which were diametrically opposed to that? So why not give it some consideration, rather than, as my right hon. Friend is doing, condemning it? It was not N.A.L.G.O.'s fault.
§ Mr. Woodburn
My hon. Friend could not have been listening. That is what I said—that the local authorities are the guilty men for refusing to grant N.A.L.G.O. the right to national negotiations. [Interruption.] That is what I have just said. Do I need to say it again? It is clear that the N.A.L.G.O. people wanted this on a national basis. They want British negotiation, and I hope that they will redouble their efforts and that nobody at this time will stop them from getting these national negotiations which they want.
Nevertheless, it does not make any sense to pay more in Scotland than in England. If any way can be found out of this within the rules and the principles, I should certainly be very glad. The Government's difficulty is that if the principle of the date-line is departed from it will open the floodgates, which might bring complete destruction to the whole incomes and prices policy. If that were to happen—the right hon. Gentleman laughs, but if that were to happen and our money in this country were devalued, instead of suffering the small handicap which they are suffering at the moment, they might find that prices were going up and that they were getting 25 per cent. less in their wages than they are getting now—
§ Mr. Woodburn
If there are ways and means of getting round the principle to which I have referred, then nobody would be more pleased than I. However, it must be done within that principle and we must consider not only the question of people 764 who should receive £300 a year more but those who should receive £50 a year extra, because people who are poorer than the N.A.L.G.O. scales have also suffered.
At a meeting of Glasgow Corporation the Treasurer pointed out that it was a question of whether or not the Scottish application fitted in with the rules laid down. He said that one committee of the J.I.C., because of a snag, had not completed an agreement until after 20th July and had thereby suffered the same effects.
There is an even more important issue. If the brake is released on the freeze and the race starts, with everybody demanding increases, there will be a danger of general devaluation. The Government must, therefore, control the brake and the Opposition is showing a sense of irresponsibility by trying to breach this principles because of political pressures.
§ Mr. Woodburn
I warn hon. Gentlemen opposite that once they begin giving in to these pressures and once they become a pressure-group for any and every wage demand, they will have to take the same action over the teachers and every other section of workers in the community. If they become so pressurised, Parliament will be demoralised, with every wage claim looking for such a group. This would be a disgraceful misuse of Parliamentary procedures, and I hope that, in view of what has happened, the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) feels ashamed of himself.
This matter must be tackled fairly and, as for the suggestion that it can be done on the basis of a gentleman's agreement, we should remember that not every man is a gentleman and that someone is likely to break such an agreement. I hope that the Government will stand firm, because the idea of anyone trying to control the Clive Jenkins of this world when it comes to wage demands is farcical. I hope that some way may be found to solve this problem, without opening the floodgates, because if those gates are opened any hope we may have of having a healthy and stable economy will be destroyed.
§ 6.12 p.m.
§ Mr. James Davidson (Aberdeenshire, West)
I hope that my hon. Friends on the Liberal Bench will oppose the Government and support the Opposition 765 Motion. I express this hope for three main reasons. The first is the apparent discrimination which exists. I am not saying that the Government intend to discriminate, but the discrimination is apparent.
The second is because the Government's action has caused this delay which is obvious from a study of the dates. It was under the early warning system introduced by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that it was necessary for proposals to be submitted. These proposals were submitted on 27th May and, at the same time, a request for a reply was made and for a settlement to be reached in late June or early July. The Department of Economic Affairs came back on 8th July, indicating that the whole claim would have to be scaled down. That left very little time indeed for the claim to be resubmitted, and it was due to this that the Scottish N.A.L.G.O. missed the bus.
The third reason is the anomaly in application. It is the type of gross anomaly with which paragraph 30 of the White Paper on the period of severe restraint was supposed to deal. That paragraph provides a loophole through which the Government may honourably find their way out of the difficulty into which they have got themselves, but I fear that they are afraid to use it.
I hope that the Minister will not accuse my hon. Friends and I of trying to exploit national feeling on this matter. After all, he will do us the honour of admitting that anything I say tonight is unlikely to affect the issue that is to be decided in one of Scotland's great cities within a week or two.
The terms of agreement were approved by the Department of Economic Affairs prior to the settlement under the Government's early warning system. I understand that the negotiations opened simultaneously, early in 1966, in Scotland and in England and Wales. An agreement in Scotland depended on conformity with England. This, naturally, ensured a time-lag right from the start. In England and Wales the agreement was to operate from 1st August and was to apply, because of the wage freeze, from 1st February, 1967. It was to operate in Scotland from 16th February and one would have thought that, due to 766 the wage freeze, it would have applied from 16th March, 1967. In other words, there should have been a six months' delay in each case. In fact, there was a six months' delay for England and a minimum of 10 months' delay for Scotland. If there must be a dateline drawn, then surely it is more usual to draw the line between categories and not directly across them.
I will mention only two or three of the likely effects of this state of affairs. I do not pretend that the result of the N.A.L.G.O. claim in Scotland failing to be implemented before July at the earliest is likely to have a great effect on the drift south. I am not suggesting that thousands of Scottish local government workers will be flocking south to find better jobs in England. However, it will certainly not have any effect in the other direction, particularly since there is a shortage of people in a number of posts in local government in Scotland. We are not likely to attract these urgently needed people to Scotland. For example, in Aberdeen County Council alone there are nine vacant posts in the county engineer's department, 10 in the county surveyors' department, and three in the county architect's department. This shortage must directly affect the building of schools and houses and the construction of roads and so on.
I appreciate that the proposal for single negotiating councils for local government services in England and Wales and in Scotland met with little sympathy from any party. However, that was hardly the fault of N.A.L.G.O. It was the fault of the political parties. Had the Scottish National Joint Industrial Council been informed before 8th July by the Department of Economic Affairs that the proposed one-year agreement should be scaled down to a 3½ per cent. norm, to conform with the English agreement which had then just been concluded, there would have been plently of time in which to conclude that agreement before 20th July. It was due to this delay that it could not be concluded. This is an anomaly which not only could but must be dealt with by the Government under the clause which they were wise enough to insert in the White Paper on the period of severe restraint. That loophole exists. Why do not the Government use it in this case? 767 If differences of this kind are allowed to take place on this basis, we might as well erect a tariff barrier along the Border and let Scotland enjoy cheaper electricity, beef and whisky.
§ 6.8 p.m.
§ Mr. John Robertson (Paisley)
I have never liked the prices and incomes policy, I do not like it now and I am never likely to like it. I have said this openly and publicly, both inside and outside the House. However, if it is to operate, I object to anyone trying to create a privileged class of people in wage negotiations.
I do not believe that the Opposition, in their strange rôle of the friend of trade unions, have either made a good case or have done N.A.L.G.O. much good. Of one thing we can be certain; immediately a question of wage negotiations is raised in this House, the negotiations stop. This place is a last resort, and this is a matter about which I warned N.A.L.G.O.
§ Mr. Bruce Gardyne
Would not the hon Gentleman agree that the negotiations had stopped once before?
§ Mr Robertson
I would not agree. It was N.A.L.G.O.'s mistake. The hon. Gentleman should realise that there was still room for negotiations to continue with the Government and the Department of Economic Affairs. The union should have done that before going into its campaign.
I am glad that the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) and the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) have been paying attention to my speeches. I hope that they continue to do so. It is a pity that the quotation which was made was not the full quotation. My actual words at the meeting were that, if the facts given by the member of the national negotiating committee of N.A.L.G.O. at that meeting were true, and if those facts were sent to Scottish Members of Parliament, I was certain that every Scottish Member of Parliament would support N.A.L.G.O. I say that now.
§ Mr. Robertson
I made it quite clear that I was giving the correct quotation. That is what I said to that meet- 768 ing. I pointed out to the reporter that even he in his report did not seem certain of all the facts. Afterwards, I interrogated him. For 17 or 18 years I was a full-time organiser for a union and previously I had been a shop steward with experience of negotiations. I am accustomed to negotiations and had an idea of what was going on. I was satisfied that the man concerned was speaking the truth. I therefore felt that I had to support N.A.L.G.O.
It is only on this point that I am in disagreement with my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, namely, on the question of the facts. The facts as put forward by the member of N.A.L.G.O.'s National Negotiating Committee are briefly these. It is first relevant to say that in 1963 the English N.J.I.C. had negotiated an agreement to last for three years The Scottish employers would not agree to implement a similar agreement, but preferred annual negotiations during that period of three years. This is important.
In June, 1965, application was made for an increase. The first meeting took place in October, 1965. In March, 1966, an agreement was concluded between both sides of the N.J.I.C. When the agreement was concluded, at the request of the Scottish Development Department representative, the parties withheld signing that agreement.
§ Mr. Robertson
I have no idea. I am only stating the facts given to me by N.A.L.G.O. I cannot do more. If my hon. Friend insists, I, too, can make investigations and send him a letter.
A representative of somebody or other from the S.D.D. asked both sides of the N.J.I.C. not to sign the agreement, but to hold off because negotiations were proceeding in England, as their three-year agreement was terminating in August, 1966. The union and the employers' side, not knowing about 20th July, agreed so to do. The negotiations were concluded in England. The information was passed on to the Scottish N.J.I.C., which met and which made an agreement. This agreement was not satisfactory to the S.D.D. or to the Department of Economic Affairs. All this was completed by the middle of June.
I am informed that, with the approval of the Department of Economic Affairs, 769 the N.J.I.C. had come to an agreement which would, roughly speaking, give a 3½ per cent. increase over two years. [Interruption.] I am only repeating this. Let us get N.A.L.G.O.'s case on the record. Then my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State can give us the Goverment's view of the facts. It is very important that N.A.L.G.O.'s case be stated.
In the middle of June everybody was agreed on the arrangement which had been come to. A date had been fixed for both sides of the N.J.I.C. to meet in St. Andrew's House three or four days—a few days; I had better not be too accurate—prior to 20th July. Two days before the meeting was due to take place, the N.A.L.G.O. officials received a telephone message from the S.D.D. saying that it was not possible for that meeting to be held, that it would have to be postponed. Consequently, the meeting which had been arranged prior to 20th July to come to an agreement, to sign an agreement, was postponed, either by the Government or by a representative of the Government. Consequently, when the agreement was finally made, when the new date was fixed, it did not matter whether they met on 21st July or on 30th September: it had the same effect.
This is the point N.A.L.G.O. has made to me. It was through no fault of N.A.L.G.O.'s that this agreement was not finalised prior to 20th July.
§ Mr. Millan
I do not want to keep on interrupting my hon. Friend, because no doubt my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland will answer. The account my hon. Friend has just given is completely inaccurate. This can be proved by documentary evidence which I have.
§ Mr. Robertson
I am not arguing whether my statement is accurate or inaccurate. I am stating the facts as given to me by a member of N.A.L.G.O.'s National Negotiating Committee. It is very important that this be said, because this was the report given at the meeting in Paisley. My comment on the report was that, if these were the facts, I and every other Scottish M.P. would be in support of N.A.L.G.O. I do not think that any of my hon. Friends would dis- 770 agree with me there. That is still my stand.
I will leave it with my right hon. Friend. He can tell us whether these are the facts. I do not know. Whatever the facts are, N.A.L.G.O. wants to get down to it and decide for itself, because I have five letters on my desk, all contradictory one of the other. Therefore, even different officers of N.A.L.G.O. cannot agree among themselves about what are the facts.
I repeat that the report of which I have told the House I have got in writing upstairs in my desk from the person who made the report. He is a member of N.A.L.G.O.'s National Negotiating Committee. That is fair enough.
I should have been more impressed by the attitude of the right hon. Member for Argyll, of the hon. Members for Bute and North Ayrshire, and Aberdeen, West (Mr. James Davidson), and of the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Wylie) if they had, between the time of this becoming news and now, or even at some previous time, gone to the local authorities and said how wrong it was that they should perpetuate these dual negotiations. I belong to a union which has had to do this. The wages of craftsmen employed by local authorities are negotiated by the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, to which my union is federated. We have not been able to get national negotiations on behalf of craftsmen employed by local authorities. Scottish local authorities have never been prepared to move.
I can tell the House—I put this particularly to hon. Members opposite—that I have never met worse employers than Scottish local authorities. The only word they ever know is, "No". It is impossible to negotiate with them. They take far too long. They can never make up their mind, and they always want to pay less than anyone else. They should not come into such affairs as this and accuse anyone of being responsible for what has occurred.
N.A.L.G.O. must bear some blame itself. If it had been doing the right thing, it would have brought this matter to a head long ago. It should have taken action to bring national negotiations about. 771 I do not wonder that the Opposition at this time, with a by-election pending, should try to make political capital out of anything they can get their hands on. But I say to them, "For goodness sake leave the field of trade union negotiations alone". If hon. and right hon. Members opposite keep on raising these matters here, not only do they make negotiations impossible but they create a feeling in industry and industrial relations generally, even in N.A.L.G.O.'s sphere, that there will be no trust between the parties. It will be impossible to conduct long negotiations or to arrive at a settlement.
This is not the place where wage negotiations should take place. There never was a more unsuitable place. Hon. and right hon. Members opposite should realise that they do harm to themselves and to everyone else, to the trade unions and to the members of N.A.L.G.O., by doing this sort of thing.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I have your guidance? Is the debate to end at seven o'clock, and are we about to have the concluding speeches? Those of us who take a view different from that of the Government have not yet had an opportunity to put our case.
§ 6.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Gordon Campbell (Moray and Nairn)
We are considering the serious grievance of about 22,000 persons in Scotland who are employed in local government. They feel that they have been outrageously treated. I believe that they have been in touch with every Scottish Member of Parliament about their case. These local government employees have a wide variety of qualifications, and their work is essential in providing services and administration in all forms of local government in Scotland.
There is also a question of principle. The Government have become so hypnotised by their own arbitrary pronouncements that they have allowed this gross anomaly to be perpetrated.
772 The case of the Scottish local government employees is simple. In relation to England and Wales, over the past five years, equivalent pay increases and equivalent salary standards have been agreed, with dates of operation in Scotland soon after those in England and Wales.
In this round of salary review—there has been no argument about this on either side of the House—Scotland started first, the opening moves being made in 1965. But, in the end, agreement for England and Wales was reached on 13th July, only seven days before 20th July, the date subsequently fixed as the watershed for the standstill. The Scottish agreement on the same lines was not separately concluded formally until after that date.
In answer to the point made by the Under-Secretary of State, I do not argue with him about the nature of the claim which was being put forward for one year, up to 8th July. But it is from 8th July that the Scottish claim followed closely the pattern of the English one, on the advice of the Government. Both these claims, the Scottish and the English, were postponed for six months, but then the English claim was allowed and is now being paid as from 1st February last. The Scottish agreement, instead of being allowed from 16th March, was further postponed indefinitely. No date has been given. All that one now knows is that it will not be before 1st July.
We recently debated the Rate Support Grant Orders for both Scotland and England for the period 1967–68. It is clear from the English Order that the pay increase from 1st February is included in the estimate and is to be covered by the grant. When we asked the Minister of State for Scotland about it, he said that it was not in the grant and that if and when the Scottish claim were allowed, a Rate Support Grant Order would have to come forward.
Under Section 4 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1966, only "unforeseen" increases in remuneration can be covered by such an Order. Therefore, for Scotland this agreement, which has already been reached, is in the category of unforeseen expenditure up to May, 1968, the end of the period in question. In England, on the other hand, the similar settlement has been met and payment is already being made. 773 It is not surprising that there is resentment and indignation north of the Border. The First Secretary of State should have discerned that this was virtually a single settlement, the determining date being 13th July. Or the Secretary of State for Scotland should have convinced him of this weeks ago.
Let us consider the alternative, if the situation is left as it is. In paragraph 24 of the White Paper on the Period of Severe Restraint, the Government say:… it would defeat the intention if any attempt were made to make good in subsequent negotiations increases forgone as a result of the standstill and severe restraint".If this means anything in the present case, it will establish a permanent differential between Scotland and England.
In paragraph 30 of the same White Paper, there is a provision under which the Government could put the situation right:There may be exceptional circumstances in which some immediate improvement in pay is imperative to correct a gross anomaly".No doubt, there will be other anomalies, but it is unlikely that the Government will meet so glaring an anomaly as the one with which we are now concerned. What was the object of putting that provision in paragraph 30 of the White Paper if it was not to apply to this situation?
The Government have spoken of groups of people being caught by the date 20th July. The Under-Secretary of State mentioned some, firemen, National Health Service employees, and so on. But the point about these is that the whole group, for England and Scotland, were caught by the date. They just missed 20th July.
In the case we are now considering, however, the Scottish part has been separated. If it had been the whole group, if both Scottish and English local government employees had been caught by the standstill and had missed 20th July, we should not be raising this question as we now are. This is the whole point. It is the unjustifiable separation of English and Welsh local government employees from their Scottish counterparts that is indefensible. Not only the employees are concerned, as has been pointed out. The employers are apparently in complete agreement with them.
774 I should like to quote from a letter which appeared in The Times today from the Chairman of the Scottish Staff Side of the N.J.I.C. in Scotland. He says:On this issue there is no difference of opinon between the employers and employees in Scotland and both feel that in all the circumstances the arbitrary drawing of a line at July 20, 1966, is grossly unfair to the staffs concerned, and damaging to the Scottish Local Government Service.There is another passage in the same letter which I shall mention because the Under-Secretary of State spoke about the structure of salaries being different in England and Wales from that in Scotland. I believe that the letter gives an accurate description of the situation. It says:… the rates of pay for exactly similar or comparable jobs in Scotland requiring the same professional qualifications …That is also the case we put. It is that people doing similar jobs are being treated in a different way.
To both employers and employees in Scotland 20th July is a wholly artificial barrier. There will be 7 per cent. more pay in England and Wales in the coming months and the prospect of a permanent differential in the future. That is an unfortunate discouragement to taking up or keeping jobs in Scotland. For the same jobs in England employees will be getting higher pay, and there will be loss of qualified staff who are especially needed in many parts of Scotland, and whom Scotland would otherwise have got or kept.
I now come to another quotation. It is:Scotland is a proud nation. We are confident of our own abilities, given a chance, the opportunity and the circumstances."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st July, 1964; Vol. 699. c. 299.]That was said by the present Secretary of State for Scotland, and the words were thought so significant that they were included in the Labour Party election manifesto of 1964 as a quotation of the right hon. Gentleman. "Given the chance, the opportunity and the circumstances." What chance are the local government employees in Scotland being given today? What opportunities are they being given, and what circumstances will be particularly favourable to them? The answer is that it seems that their best opportunities and circumstances are to be provided for them by the Government in England and Wales.
But there is a wider picture. Besides being responsible for this anomaly, the 775 Secretary of State's actions are giving rise to a general feeling of frustration in Scotland, in turn furnishing increased support for sentiments of nationalism favouring complete separation. These have developed significantly only in the past two years, as the Secretary of State will well know. Of course, there is exasperation with a Government that promotes this kind of anomaly. That is understandable. But separation would be unfortunate because I am certain that Scotland's future importance and prosperity must come from being a vital part of the United Kingdom, while Scotland would have only a minor and somewhat precarious existence as a small country on its own.
I lay the blame for the current nationalist feelings entirely at the Government's door, and the Secretary of State must take a large part of the blame.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
Why is the feeling of frustration against the Government so feared by the Conservative movement? Is what the hon. Gentleman called a resurgence of Scottish nationalism not due to a feeling of frustration because both sides have blundered on certain major issues, and the people who are frustrated are not going to the Conservatives?
§ Mr. Campbell
I have never discerned any fear on the part of myself or my right hon. and hon. Friends on this. What I pointed out is that most of that feeling has come up within the past year, or certainly over the past two years, and if the hon. Gentleman has not noticed it in Scotland he has not been looking around very much. The Secretary of State must take most of the blame.
The Government have put down an Amendment to our Motion. There is nothing in it about the merits of the case. They must be destitute of ideas if they simply put forward an Amendment of that kind. First, it refers to an "unjustified imputation of discrimination against Scotland." After all that has been said today, together with the views expressed by both employers and employees, it cannot be denied that the Government's action has resulted in discrimination. I do not suggest that there was deliberate discrimination, and no hon. Member on this side of the House has suggested that. 776 But I do say that maladministration and the inadequacy of Scottish Ministers has led to that effect.
The Amendment also imputes to us motives of electoral advantage. That is presumably a reference to the by-election which will shortly take place in Scotland. But we first called attention to the anomaly on 30th January—4½ weeks ago we put a Motion on the Order Paper. We raised the matter about three days later on the Floor of the House in the early hours of 2nd February in the debate on the Consolidated Fund Bill. I started that discussion and no fewer than six of my right hon. and hon. Friends spoke in that debate—all Members for Scottish constituencies. That was more than two weeks before the Writ was issued for the Glasgow, Pollok by-election.
It is interesting to see what the Minister of State—I am glad that he is here— said when he replied in that debate. He said:So long as this matter is under discussion by Ministers … then it is unreasonable for me to be asked what the outcome will be. Until something has been conceded by Ministers I cannot say more.That gave us the impression that there were some concessions in the air. It looked as though common sense might prevail.
Then, near the end of his speech, the Minister of State said:Hon. Members may say that one group of workers has a justifiable claim, …and he ended by saying:There is no reason at all why they should not take the first opportunity to raise this at some later time."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st February, 1966; Vol. 740, c. 714–715.]If that was not an invitation to us to pursue the matter further and see whether Ministers had made a concession, I do not know what it was. We had great difficulty in getting this debate as a result of the Leader of the House telling us that we would be able to speak on the matter in a debate on Scottish affairs, on a day when we could only speak about it very generally. Therefore, for the right hon. Gentleman now to say that we are raising the subject as a matter of political expediency flies in the face of all the facts to which I have just referred.
If the Secretary of State was pressing his colleagues, and if he failed to convince them, why is he still here? Why does he not resign to demonstrate that he stands for what he said in 1964 about 777 promoting opportunities in Scotland, to demonstrate that he is not prepared to let legitimate Scottish interests be pushed aside? After all, he could always withdraw his resignation later, as the Foreign Secretary has shown can be done. There is no sign that anything like that has happened.
The right hon. Member for East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) thought that we might be a pressure group for any individual section. Incidentally, he mentioned the Scottish teachers. I remind his that we took up the case of the Scottish teachers and criticised the mishandling of their affairs by the Government. But we are not a pressure group of that kind. If we are a pressure group, it is a pressure group for Scotland.
We are disappointed in the right hon. Gentleman. We are disappointed in his failure to live up to his flamboyant words in the past. Never has a community been so let down as have the Scottish people, by the words uttered by the right hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friends over two years ago, compared with their lamentable and totally inadequate performance while they have been in office.
§ 6.50 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. William Ross)
I never knew a party quite so much out of touch with reality as the Scottish Tories. We have only to look at the Motion. It begins by referring to the… National and Local Government Officers Association pay award …".There is no such thing.
Then it refers to the so-called award as being the same as that paid in England and Wales. I wish that the Opposition had discussed it with the trade unions which they are supposed to he supporting today. They would have discovered that this was impossible.
The Opposition has been slipshod all through. I expected a little better from the former Conservative Solicitor-General for Scotland, the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Wylie), but he did not even know who was included in the Order. I must say that what was supposed to be a Motion of censure has become an apology. We have had all the questions, "Why blame us?" and, "Why do you even suggest that we are thinking of the Pollok by-election?".
778 On 27th February The Times had a leader stating that the Opposition were giving half a day to belabouring the Secretary of State for Scotland—poor "Willie"—for his refusal to allow a negotiated increase to be paid to the employees of local authorities in Scotland. Exactly a week from today, it so happens that there is a by-election at Pollok. The leader added:It is one of those political coincidences into which only the suspicious will wish to Pry.Our Amendment is very apposite on that point.
§ Mr. Ross
I am sorry. I am dealing with one point at a time.
The hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. G. Campbell) said, "Oh, but we raised this weeks ago, on 30th January, and raised it again on the Consolidated Fund Bill." Thanks to the generosity of the Chair, they got away with it.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I think that I rise to a point of order. The right hon. Gentleman must not cast even a general reflection on the Chair.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it any reflection or. the Chair to accuse it of generosity?
§ Mr. Speaker
The Secretary of State made that point just before the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) did.
§ Mr. G. Campbell
Further to that point of order. Could this be clarified? The right hon. Gentleman is wrong again. He has mixed up the Consolidated Fund Bill with the Rate Support Grant Order, on which we tried to raise this issue as well.
§ Mr. G. Campbell
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it correct for the right hon. Gentleman to cast that aspersion on the Chair, particularly as, in opening that debate, I was able to say completely everything I had to say and was not ruled out of order?
§ Mr. Ross
Right hon. and hon. Members opposite raised the matter in questions about the business of the House. We had headlines in the Scottish Press about something which was supposed to have happened, but which made no contact with what happened in the House. The Opposition raised the issue during the following week and later in letters. I have never known the Conservative Party either inside or outside the House so exercised about any group of workers. I would like to know why. The explanation is purely and simply the fact that there is a by-election shortly and the Opposition are scared of the Nationalists. If I had their record, I would be scared, too.
§ Mr. Ross
I am sorry, but I have been fair in giving way.
We have had a conspiracy of noise to drown the truth. Dates have been mentioned by the Opposition. The hon. Member for Moray and Nairn got slightly muddled. He talked about both agreements being signed and postponed for six months. But the whole point is that no Scottish agreement was reached and confirmed by the central departments under the system.
I will produce the dates in respect of which my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. John Robertson) was assured by an officer of N.A.L.G.O. concerning some actions by the Department of Economic Affairs and the Scottish Development Department. There is not a single word of truth in those suggestions. The facts put to my hon. Friend were quite wrong. For justification, I would refer to what was received from the headquarters of N.A.L.G.O. itself just two days ago.
What happened was that, conscious that they were being later than the English and Welsh, the Scottish employers' side of the National Joint In- 780 dustrial Council sent a letter to the Scottish Development Board on 27th May last year. They suggested to us the broad changes they were to be considering formally with the employees. This was for the negotiations which started in June. In October, there was a commitment for an increase, without details. But the first indication we got was on 27th May. We should remember that the English and Welsh had started at the beginning of March. The letter said:There may be further information which you would wish to have and I shall be ready to supply it if you ask.Paragraph 11 of the accompanying statement read:The employers take the view that any revision of structure should not be effective in Scotland at a different date from a probable general increase. Although knowing of the English employers readiness"—mark this—to embody in their current revision of scales a 7 per cent. increase for a two year period, and the likelihood of its acceptance by the central departments, the Scottish Employers (and perhaps the staff side) would prefer to negotiate changes embodying a general 3½ per cent. and have no two-year agreement.This is not something I am making up. That is the official letter sent us on 27th May. It suggested that I might want further information. Of course I did. If we had accepted that, there would have been uproar from N.A.L.G.O. Indeed, all the claims of discrimination would probably have been right. But we sought and got the further information, on 17th June. We got the agreement—and I have the documents here with all the changes made in it—and it was not 3½ per cent. but 5½ per cent. to 6 per cent.
I remind the Opposition that I am as concerned as they are now about the time lags. I am as concerned as they are about the detrimental effects upon Scottish local authority services. Thank heavens it is not the right hon. Member for Argyll who is the responsible Minister!
But the fact is that the 5½ per cent. to 6 per cent., even for the one year, was considerably below what was being given in England and Wales and that implies that the employers and the staff were prepared to accept, for a whole year at least, discrimination between Scotland and England. It is pretty bad for them now to come along and say that what 781 I hope will be a very limited time lag will be disastrous.
It has been suggested that this is all the result of the D.E.A. and the Scottish Office. There has been little or no communication with the D.E.A. during all these negotiations. There has been communication only with the Scottish Office and it was not until the letter which was sent out on, I think, 19th January, in answer to a request from N.A.L.G.O., that there was any communication with the D.E.A. I can assure my hon. Friends that the statement by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of the timetable was absolutely correct. That put into its proper perspective all this noise about dilatoriness and about delay and about maladministration which we have heard over the past three or four weeks.
I am sorry that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) did not speak today.
§ Mr. Ross
He has played his part in this build-up of what has been made into a nationalist battle. I have seen both sides of the Scottish National Joint Industrial Council which has deplored the element of politics brought into all this, and the noise and so on, and hon. Members opposite must bear their responsibility for it.
§ It has been admitted that there is rough justice as soon as there is a standstill if there is a deadline, but as soon as one starts to manœuvre that deadline to suit any one section, then more injustice is created than there is in any seeming anomaly which is corrected. The right hon Member for Argyll and the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn fail to appreciate that millions of people are caught in this way—people who have accepted the disciplines required by an incomes policy of a standstill and severe restraint because of the value to the country. The country has done well out of the general support which we have had from the workers and from the salary-earners. Hon. Members opposite have been chipping away at this justice and favouring a section all in the interests of party manœeuvre.
§ In this we have had nationalism. I, too, read the Scottish Press and I say that the rantings of nationalism which we have heard from hon. Members opposite over the past three years sound strange and insincere in the accents of Eton, Winchester and Wellington.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to he left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 221, Noes 276.785
|Division No. 282.]||AYES||[7.6 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Carlisle, Mark||Farr, John|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Fisher, Nigel|
|Astor, John||Cary, Sir Robert||Fortescue, Tim|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Channon, H. P. G.||Foster, Sir John|
|Awdry, Daniel||Chichester-Clark, R.||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh(St'ftord & Stone)|
|Baker, W. H. K.||Clark, Henry||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.|
|Batsford, Brian||Clegg, Walter||Giles, Rear-Adm. Morgan|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Cooke, Robert||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Corfield, F. V.||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Glover, Sir Douglas|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver||Glyn, Sir Richard|
|Biffen, John||Crouch, David||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Crowder, F. P.||Goodhart, Philip|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Cunningham, Sir Knox||Goodhew, Victor|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Currie, G. B. H.||Grant, Anthony|
|Blaker, Peter||Dalkeith,||Earl of Grant-Ferris, R.|
|Body, Richard||Dance, James||Gresham Cooke, R.|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Davidson, James(Aberdeenshire, W.)||Grieve, Percy|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Gurden, Harold|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Braine, Bernard||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.|
|Brewis, John||Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Hamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Doughty, Charles||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. SirWalter||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Drayson, G. B.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Bryan, Paul||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus, N&M)||Eden, Sir John||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Harvie Anderson, Miss|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Hastings, Stephen|
|Burden, F. A.||Errington, Sir EriC||Hawkins, Paul|
|Campbell, Gordon||Evans, Gwyntor (C'marthen)||Hay, John|
|Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Madden, Martin||Roots, William|
|Heseltine, Michael||Maginnis, John E.||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Higgins, Terence L.||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Hiley, Joseph||Marten, Neil||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Hill, J. E. B.||Maude, Angus||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Scott, Nicholas|
|Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Sharples, Richard|
|Holland, Philip||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Hooson, Emlyn||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Hordern, Peter||Miscampbell, Norman||Smith, John|
|Hornby, Richard||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Stainton, Keith|
|Howell, David (Guildford)||Monro, Hector||Stodart, Anthony|
|Hunt, John||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Murton, Oscar||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Neave, Airey||Teeling, Sir William|
|Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Temple, John M.|
|Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Tilney, John|
|Jopling, Michael||Nott, John||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Onslow, Cranley||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Kerby, Capt. Henry||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Kershaw, Anthony||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Kimball, Marcus||Pardoe, John||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)||Wall, Patrick|
|Kirk, Peter||Percival, Ian||Walters, Dennis|
|Kitson, Timothy||Peyton, John||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Langford-Holt, Sir John||Pink, R. Bonner||Webster, David|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Pounder, Rafton||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Price, David (Eastieigh)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirra)||Prior, J. M. L.||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Longden, Gilbert||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Loveys, W. H.||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Lubbock, Eric||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Worsley, Marcus|
|McAdden, Sir Stephen||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Wylie, N. R.|
|MacArthur, Ian||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Younger, Hn. George|
|Mackenzie, Alasdair(Ross&Crom'ty)||Ridley, Hn.||Nicholas|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Ridsdale, Julian||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|McMaster, Stanley||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey||Mr. Pym and Mr. More.|
|Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Abse, Leo||Chapman, Donald||Faulds, Andrew|
|Albu, Austen||Coe, Denis||Fennyhough, E.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Coleman, Donald||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)|
|Alldritt, Walter||Concannon, J. D.||Floud, Bernard|
|Archer, Peter||Conlan, Bernard||Foley, Maurice|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)|
|Ashley, Jack||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Crawshaw, Richard||Ford, Ben|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Cronin, John||Forrester, John|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Fowler Gerry|
|Barnes, Michael||Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Fraser, John (Norwood)|
|Barnett, Joel||Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hn. F. J.||Dalyell, Tam||Freeson, Reginald|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Gardner, Tony|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Ginsburg, David|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Gourlay, Harry|
|Binns, John||Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)|
|Bishop, E. S.||Davies, Robert (Cambridge)||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony|
|Blackburn, F.||Dempsey, James||Gregory, Arnold|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Dewar, Donald||Grey, Charles (Durham)|
|Boardman, H.||Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)|
|Booth, Albert||Dickens, James||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)|
|Boyden, James||Dobson, Ray||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)|
|Bradley, Tom||Doig, Peter||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Donnelly, Desmond||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)|
|Brooks, Edwin||Driberg, Tom||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Dunn, James A.||Hart, Mrs. Judith|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Dunnett, Jack||Haseldine, Norman|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Hattersley, Roy|
|Buchan, Norman||Eadie, Alex||Hazell, Bert|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Edelman, Maurice||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Edwards, Robert (Bllston)||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||English, Michael||Henig, Stanley|
|Cant, R. B.||Ennals, David||Hooley, Frank|
|Carmichael, Neil||Ensor, David||Horner, John|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)|
|Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Mikardo, Ian||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Milian, Bruce||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Howie, W.||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Rowland, Christopher (Meriden)|
|Hughes, Rt, Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Ryan, John|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Molloy, William||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)|
|Hunter, Adam||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Sheldon, Robert|
|Hynd, John||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Shore, Peter (Stepney)|
|Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Morris, John (Aberavon)||Short,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Moyle, Roland||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Janner, Sir Barnett||Murray, Albert||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Newens, Stan||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Phillp(Derby, S.)||Slater, Joseph|
|Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Norwood, Christopher||Small, William|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Cakes, Gordon||Snow, Julian|
|Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn(W. Ham, S.)||Ogden, Eric||Steele, Thomas(Dumbartonshire, W.)|
|Judd, Frank||O'Malley, Brian||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Kelley, Richard||Oram, Albert E.||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Orbach, Maurice||Swain, Thomas|
|Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)||Orme, Stanley||Swingler, Stephen|
|Kerr, Russell (Feltham)||Oswald, Thomas||Taverne, Dick|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Padley, Walter||Thornton, Ernest|
|Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)||Tinn, James|
|Lee, John (Reading)||Paget, R. T.||Tomney, Frank|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Palmer, Arthur||Tuck, Raphael|
|Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Urwin, T. W.|
|Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Park, Trevor||Varley, Eric G.|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne valley)|
|Lipton, Marcus||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Walden, Brian (All Saints)|
|Lomas, Kenneth||Pavitt, Laurence||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Luard, Evan||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Wallace, George|
|Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Pentland, Norman||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)||Weitzman, David|
|Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|McBride, Neil||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|McCann, John||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)||Whitlock, William|
|MacColl, James||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)||Wigg, Rt. Hn. George|
|MacDermot, Niall||Price, William (Rugby)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Macdonald, A. H.||Probert, Arthur||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|McGuire, Michael||Pursey Cmdr. Harry||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Rankin, John||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Mackintosh, John P.||Redhead, Edward||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Maclennan, Robert||Rees, Merlyn||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|McNamara, J. Kevin||Reynolds, G. W.||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|MacPherson, Malcolm||Rhodes, Geoffrey||Winnick, David|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Richard, Ivor||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Mallalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Marquand, David||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)||Woof, Robert|
|Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Mason, Roy||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth(St. P'c'as)||Yates, Victor|
|Maxwell, Robert||Robinson, W. 0. J. (Walth'stow, E.)|
|Mayhew, Christopher||Rodgers, William (Stockton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mellish, Robert||Roebuck, Roy||Mr. Harper and Mr. Lawson.|
|Proposed words there added.|
|Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.|
|That this House deplores the action of Her Majesty's Conservative Opposition in endeavouring to exploit for petty motives of electoral advantage the genuine national feelings of the Scots by its unjustified imputation of discrimination against Scotland.|