HC Deb 24 July 1968 vol 769 cc548-9
36. Captain W. Elliot

asked the Minister of Transport in view of the Government's prices and incomes policy, what estimate he has made of the additional cost to British Railways of the wage award offered to the unions; and how much of this will be recovered in increased productivity.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Transport (Mr. Stephen Swingler)

The British Railways Board estimate that the total cost of interim settlement reached at Penzance will be £860,000 up to 2nd September, 1968. As my right hon. Friend told the House on 8th July, this is £170,000 more than the cost of the Board's offer on 22nd June. From 2nd September the interim arrangements will be absorbed into the main pay and efficiency settlement.

Captain Elliot

Would not the Minister agree that this settlement was made under pressure from the Government? Does it not make a mockery of Government policy when concessions like this are made before productivity is guarantsed?

Mr. Swingler

No. This settlement was not made under pressure from the Government. It was made between the Railways Board and the unions. My right hon. Friend has made clear on many occasions that it is going to be part of a productivity deal which will offer important prospects for British Railways.