HC Deb 22 February 1968 vol 759 cc632-3
13. Mr. Biffen

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will make a statement defining the relative areas of responsibility and action between the National Board for Prices and Incomes and the economic development committees.

Mr. Frederick Lee

The National Board for Prices and Incomes is statutorily responsible for independent examination of particular questions relating to incomes, prices and charges which may be referred to it. An Economic Development Committee has a continuing responsibility for examining the overall economic performance, prospects and plans of the industry concerned.

Mr. Biffen

That does not get us very far. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is absolute jungle warfare among the proliferating bureaucracy of his Ministry and that Mr. Aubrey Jones—this is an open secret—wishes to investigate the motor industry but that the economic development committee for the industry does not wish to be investigated by Mr. Aubrey Jones? In these circumstances, should not the right hon. Gentleman say clearly whether he intends that the motor industry should be investigated by the Prices and Incomes Board?

Mr. Lee

The relation between that and the original Question is difficult to find. The straight answer is that one cannot make an E.D.C. composed largely of people from the industry concerned the appropriate committee to vet prices and incomes connected with that industry.