HC Deb 15 December 1970 vol 808 cc1114-5
Q5. Mr. Barnett

asked the Prime Minister if the public speech by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on 21st November at Llandudno on the subject of inflation represents Government policy.

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Barnett

If the national interest requires a reduction in the level of wage inflation, how does the Prime Minister reconcile his policy of non-intervention with the fact that the result may be a settlement which is not in the national interest?

The Prime Minister

The Government have defined their policy very clearly on conciliation and its relationship to industrial disputes. I should have thought that the announcement yesterday by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment dealt very clearly with that.

Mr. Moyle

What is the difference between a wages norm and the national interest?

The Prime Minister

If the hon. Gentleman awaits the court of inquiry which is to be held, he may very well see the explanation.

Mr. Sandys

Is my right hon. Friend aware that most people feel that he has already made a pretty good start in tackling the runaway inflation which he inherited from the previous Administration? Is he also aware that the smack of firm government is receiving general approval?

The Prime Minister

It is only a matter of regret that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite who, in their own Administration, announced that they were there to fight inflation, have now given up the battle.