HC Deb 04 December 1969 vol 792 cc1691-2
25. Mr. Howie

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what services are now being provided to industry and the trade unions by the Manpower and Productivity Service of her Department.

Mrs. Castle

The assistance of Manpower and Productivity Service is freely available to both employers and unions. It provides information and advice on a wide range of subjects relating to productivity, especially in the better utilisation of manpower and on industrial relations. The service operates primarily through manpower advisers attached to my regional offices and the advice of specialists in a central consultancy service at headquarters is available to help them. It undertakes short advisory visits and more extensive surveys, particularly on pay and productivity problems.

Mr. Howie

Is my right hon. Friend aware that she is to be congratulated on the breadth and depth of the services provided? Can she assure me that private industry is sufficiently gingered up to make use of them?

Mrs. Castle

I agree with my hon. Friend that sometimes one can offer a service of which advantage is not taken. The evidence here goes to show that firms are very responsive indeed to these offers of help that are coming from my Manpower and Productivity Service, which in the first nine months of this year has advised nearly 3,000 firms. We find that they look upon this, quite rightly, as an invaluable free service to them by Government.

Mr. Higgins

In view of the total failure of the right hon. Lady's prices and incomes policy, would she agree that the best service that can be provided is to ensure that pay for productivity agreements should not be made until productivity has actually gone up, and not when it is merely promised?

Mrs. Castle

The hon. Gentleman is showing his total ignorance of the policy.