HC Deb 15 December 1970 vol 808 cc1102-3
19. Mr. Douglas

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will have further discussions with the Confederation of British Industry on the consequences of inflation.

Mr. Barber

Yes, Sir. Cost inflation will be discussed at the next meeting of the National Economic Development Council to be held on 6th January, at which representatives of the C.B.I. will be present.

Mr. Douglas

Will the right hon. Gentleman stress to the representatives of the Confederation of British Industry that we deplore the present practice of passing forward increasing unit costs to the consumer in the form of higher prices?

Mr. Barber

I have no doubt that the C.B.I. will take note of what the hon. Gentleman said.

Mr. Marten

To what extent does my right hon. Friend think that the present inflation, which is due in part to wage inflation, was due directly to the rise in prices as a result of devaluation by the Labour Party?

Mr. Barber

There is no doubt—it is generally admitted—that one very significant and important consequence of devaluation was to increase prices and to put up the cost of living. There is no doubt about that at all.

23. Mr. James Hamilton

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from the Confederation of British Industry about inflation in nationalised industries; and what reply he sent.

Mr. Barber


Mr. Hamilton

When the right hon. Gentleman gets representation—I assume that he did have representation by virtue of the fact that he has made many speeches, as has his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, along the lines that the nationalised industries must be whipping boys—will he be prepared to tell the C.B.I. that it must stand on its own two feet and that the Government will not intervene in what they deem to be freely negotiated wage settlements?

Mr. Barber

The reply which I send to the C.B.I. will be determined when I receive the representation which the hon. Gentleman assumes is coming. I have not heard from the C.B.I. yet.