HC Deb 26 June 1969 vol 785 cc1701-3
Q1. Mr. Marten

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the co-ordination between Ministers in the issuing of policy statements on matters which are of primary concern to more than one Department; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

Yes, Sir, but I shall be making an announcement shortly about improvement of co-ordination of Government information at official level.

Mr. Marten

In the meantime, is the Prime Minister satisfied with the remarks of the Secretary of State for Social Services that the extra money to be raised from the increased charges on spectacles and teeth should be used for schools?

Before answering that, can the Prime Minister tell us why the regulations for these increased charges have been delayed in being presented to Parliament?

The Prime Minister

On the second part of the question, the hon. Gentleman had better await further statements. He will get everything he needs to know in due course.

On the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question—and obviously it was put down a long time ago—it was fully dealt with in my answer to the hon. Member for Farnham (Mr. Maurice Macmillan) just before the Recess.

Mr. Moonman

In preparing the statement that he has mentioned, will my right hon. Friend also take into account the grave implications associated with Government structure, which is of great concern to both sides of the House? Will he also take particular notice of need for reorganisation in the industry-based and technology departments?

The Prime Minister

I am always prepared to listen to any suggestion of my hon. Friend on this question.

Mr. Maurice Macmillan

In his statement, will the Prime Minister also take account of the need that accurate information on the postponement of matters so important as Health Service charges should reach the House rather than rumours—which is now the case?

The Prime Minister

Yes; but I am not responsible for rumours or the inaccurate statement that appeared in one newspaper this morning.

Q2. Mr. Goodhew

asked the Prime Minister whether he will resume his duties of being directly concerned in the work of the Department of Economic Affairs.

The Prime Minister

I have nothing to add to what I said in the House on 11th April, 1968.—[Vol. 762, c. 1585–8.]

Mr. Goodhew

Why this sudden display of modesty from our erstwhile economic overlord? [Interruption.] Is it that the right hon. Gentleman—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. Noise cuts into Question Time. Mr. Goodhew.

Mr. Goodhew

Is it that the right hon. Gentleman is now convinced that an economic miracle is not possible under this Administration and that he should leave his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to carry the can?

The Prime Minister

I am not aware that an Answer which refers back to a statement on 11th April, 1968, can be described as a sudden access of anything. It goes back some 15 months.

Concerning the economic miracle, which, as the hon. Gentleman knows, was a quotation from a distinguished overseas commentator, I referred—this was last July after the statement—to what had been achieved in the restructuring of British industry, in which I hope the whole House will take some pride.

Mr. Cant

May I suggest to my right hon. Friend that such a development is unnecessary? I might remind him that the City Press placard last week announcing the success of the Government's economic policies has been followed this week by a placard announcing growing support for the Labour Government?

The Prime Minister

I have never felt either unduly elated or unduly depressed by newspaper placards of that particular journal. This question refers to economic co-ordination, and the responsibility of all Ministers in the Government, including the Prime Minister and the First Lord of the Treasury, remains unchanged.