HC Deb 04 December 1969 vol 792 cc1676-7
5. Mr. Ellis

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what consultations she is having about her proposed legislation on safety, health and welfare; and if she will make a statement.

The First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (Mrs. Barbara Castle)

I have had the benefit of advice from a sub-committee of my Industrial Health Advisory Committee so far as my proposals for the reform of the Appointed Factory Doctor Service and the establishment of the Employment Medical Advisory Service are concerned, and of a subcommittee of my Industrial Safety Advisory Council in relation to my proposals for joint consultation on safety. The C.B.I., T.U.C., nationalised industries and other interested organisations are represented on these sub-committees and, in addition, there has been individual consultation with organisations concerned with the proposed legislation. I hope to introduce the legislation at an early date.

Mr. Ellis

Does my right hon. Friend accept that, while a lot of propaganda is made about strikes, official or unofficial, the fact is that more man-hours are lost in this way than in any other? Will she therefore see that the legislation is speeded up? She has given an encouraging reply but we should get on with this vital job.

Mrs. Castle

I agree that, if we are concerned with keeping up a high level of production, it is imperative to take measures like this to improve health and safety at work. I am anxious to introduce the legislation as soon as possible.

Dr. Winstanley

Does the right hon. Lady agree that, by establishing an effective occupational health service, she might do more to promote productivity and avoid strikes than she would by any Industrial Relations Bill? Will she do what she can to fill this gap in our otherwise comprehensive health services?

Mrs. Castle

The hon. Gentleman is merely echoing what my hon. Friend said and I have already replied to that point. I think we need to tackle this problem of maintaining production from a number of angles, and these two are very important. I am anxious to get the legislation on the Statute Book as early as possible.