HC Deb 30 April 1968 vol 763 cc992-4
Q1. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Prime Minister whether the public speech of the Lord President of the Council at Basildon on 29th March about the need for new methods of economic planning and incomes policy to be followed by Her Majesty's Government represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

Q9. Sir Knox Cunningham

asked the Prime Minister whether the public speech by the Lord President of the Council on 29th March at Basildon, on the subject of new methods of incomes policy, represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Does that Answer mean that the Prime Minister accepts his right hon. Friend's view that there is a widely felt need throughout the Labour Party for strong collective leadership capable of taking the necessary decisions, and, in view of the implication about his own leadership contained in that, what does he propose to do about it?

The Prime Minister

The phrase that my right hon. Friend used in the context of the Question was: This will involve making the collective approval of strong measures and the collective acceptance of sacrifice prevail over our specific personal and group grievances This is the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and we have always operated on the basis of collective leadership.

Sir Knox Cunningham

Does the Prime Minister agree with the Lord President that a General Election now would settle the fate of the Labour Party, and why not have a go?

The Prime Minister

My right hon. Friend is free to express an opinion. I do not intend putting this matter to the test, because I have full confidence that, when it is, we shall have the same result as we had last time.

Mr. William Hamilton

On the incomes policy part of the Question, can my right hon. Friend say whether it is now the view of the Government that the unions should be free to negotiate whatever increase they can get so long as the Government can be satisfied that that increase is less than the increase in productivity resulting from it?

The Prime Minister

It has always been our position, in successive White Papers, that the criterion on productivity is of the greatest importance. Certainly there need be no limit of the amount set in the White Paper if an addition beyond that limit is earned by clear and guaranteed arrangements about productivity.

Mr. Sandys

While it is doubtful whether any new planning methods would be an improvement, is it not a fact that up till now the Government's economic planning has been nothing but a disastrous fiasco?

The Prime Minister

The right hon. Gentleman is entitled to his personal opinion on this as on other matters. But he will also be aware of what had to be done, not only in terms of the balance of payments, but in terms of the long years in which nothing was done to deal with the problem of industrial drift which the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues allowed to persist for so many years.

Mr. Hugh Fraser

On the incomes policy, can the Prime Minister explain why Ministerial salaries have gone up from £591,000 on 4th April to £613,000 on 23rd April?

The Prime Minister

I am not clear whether the right hon. Gentleman is referring to the figures for this year.

Mr. Fraser

Perhaps I may put my question again. If the right hon. Gentleman will look at Question No. 77, which I put to him but which he referred to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he will see that I asked why the salaries of Ministers had risen from £591,000 on 4th April to £613,000 on 23rd April this year, and this is taking figures issued by a Department of his own Government.

The Prime Minister

I shall be happy to study that question and arrange that either the Chancellor or I will answer it to the satisfaction of the right hon. Gentleman.