HC Deb 29 January 1970 vol 794 cc1687-8
1. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what is her latest assessment of the extent to which productivity agreements which were part of a wage increase agreement have been fulfilled; and if she will make a statement.

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

The latest general assessment of productivity agreements is that made by the National Board for Prices and Incomes in its Report No. 123 in August, 1969. This report indicated that in three-quarters of the companies examined the net effect of the agreement was the achievement of lower costs per unit of output.

Mr. Marten

Now that the right hon. Lady has condemned Part II of the Prices and Incomes Act, can she say whether these recent high pay settlements have been matched by productivity, and if not, are we not moving into a very dangerous situation?

Mrs. Castle

In every case it is the aim of my Department to back up the work of the Prices and Incomes Board, and to have a productivity link-up, if possible.

Mr. Higgins

Does the right hon. Lady have up-to-date assessments? Is it not crucial to know to what extent percentage increases in wages have been matched by percentage increases in productivity? What are the figures?

Mrs. Castle

I can only be expected to give the assessment asked for in this Question.

Mr. William Hamilton

Would my right hon. Friend now take the opportunity of correcting the unfortunate statement she is alleged to have made, that nurses are not productive workers?

Mrs. Castle

I am at a loss to understand what my hon. Friend can be referring to. I have never made any such statement.