§ 4. Mr. Marten
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will make a statement on the Report of the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations.
§ 31. Mr. David Mitchell
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity when she now expects to publish the Report of the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations.
§ Mr. Marten
I have heard that said before. Does not the right hon. Lady agree that, while the Government have been waiting for this report to be published, industrial relations and employment in this country have gravely de- 834 teriorated? For example, can she explain why the total of wholly unemployed have been above 500,000 on 12 occasions in the last 16 months, when it was above that figure on only seven occasions in all the 13 years of Tory rule?
§ Mrs. Castle
Obviously, the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question goes far beyond the main Question. If he cares to put a Question down on the unemployment rate, I shall be delighted to answer it.
As regards the report of the Royal Commission, it is not within the Government's control to dictate to the Royal Commission when it should consider that its work should have been done. It has taken rather longer than was hoped and expected at the outset, but I have firm indications that the report will be forthcoming very soon.
§ Mr. Mitchell
Can the right hon. Lady help the House with a definition of "very soon"? May we have an assurance that it will be before the end of next month?
§ Mr. Heffer
Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that such reactionary proposals as are contained in the Conservative Party document, "A Fair Deal At Work", which is associated with the report, will be resisted by my right hon. Friend as, I understand, it has been resisted by the Royal Commission itself—or so the leader in the Daily Telegraph seems to indicate?
§ Mrs. Castle
I was interested to see that in a foreword to the booklet to which my hon. Friend refers, the right hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) said that the party's studies would continue and they would take into account not only the reactions to the Conservative Party document but also the forthcoming report of the Royal Commission. It may be that, in the light of the report, hon. and right hon. Members opposite will wish to modify their views.
§ Mr. R. Carr
Can the right hon. Lady confirm that it is still the Government's intention, as announced by her predecessor, to publish a White Paper giving their reactions to the Royal Commission's report before we adjourn for the Summer Recess and to bring in any necessary legislation in the next Session?
§ Mrs. Castle
The right hon. Gentleman will realise that, with the delay in the publication date of the Royal Commission's report, it may prove impracticable to keep to the time table which was linked to an earlier publication date. He will be the first to agree that, on receiving the report, we must go into very detailed consultations. I am sure that the House would deplore it if we were to rush those consultations. They must inevitably take time, and, that being so, I do not think that it will be possible to have a White Paper before the Summer Recess.