HC Deb 06 November 1969 vol 790 cc1156-7
6. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what new plans she has to ensure that any future development of Prices and Incomes policy improves the position of lower-paid workers.

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

I must ask my hon. Friend to await the publication of the White Paper later this year.

Mr. Hamilton

Does my right hon. Friend not recognise that where the Government have a direct responsibility for some of the lower-paid workers there is some moral obligation on them to ensure that those lower-paid workers get substantial increases that are now being obtained by unofficial action in many instances'? I instance the nurses who cannot strike, will not strike, and who have remained for a long time among the lower-paid workers.

Mrs. Castle

I am sure that my hon. Friend will not expect me to answer the particular case to which he has referred because it is primarily within the sphere of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services. On the general point I would say that I believe one of the purposes of the prices and incomes policy is to enable us to get the relationship between different pay structures and pay levels on a more socially justifiable basis. To do that we must have a willingness by all concerned in industry to co-operate in such a policy.

Sir G. Nabarro

Would the right hon. Lady bear in mind when preparing her White Paper that it is no good at all dealing with lower-paid workers in isolation and that all skilled workers and artisans, particularly those who have spent long years in training as apprentices and later as journeymen, expect the full differential to be maintained?

Mrs. Castle

The hon. Gentleman is merely putting in different words—and I will not take responsibility for his wording—the concept which I was putting in my previous answer.