HC Deb 26 March 1970 vol 798 cc1632-3
29. Mr. Raphael Tuck

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what response she has received to her consultative document on a Commission for Industry and Manpower.

8. Mr. Ashley

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if she will make a statement on the discussions she has had about the proposed Commission for Industry and Manpower.

Mr. Dell

The Confederation of British Industry, the Trades Union Congress and a number of other organisations, have given my right hon. Friend their views and these have been taken into account in the Commission for Industry and Manpower Bill which is now before the House.

Mr. Tuck

Does my right hon. Friend think that the Confederation of British Industry has tried to sabotage the recovery in the nation's economic position by refusing—[Laughter.] This is serious—

Mr. Edwin Wainwright

Hon. Members opposite are not interested.

Mr. Tuck

They seem to be acting like clowns—by refusing to notify price increases on a voluntary basis, and will my right hon. Friend use her statutory powers to require notification of such price increases?

Mr. Dell

I do not think it would be right to say that the Confederation of British Industry is trying to sabotage the nation's economic recovery. I understand that the Confederation of British Industry has now recommended its members to continue to notify price increases but without the period of advanced warning which has been given heretofore. I expressed yesterday my concern about the matter, and my right hon. Friend will naturally have to consider what action would he appropriate.

Mr. R. Carr

Is it not true that the undertaking given voluntarily by industry about advance warning of price increases was given for a temporary period, as part and parcel of a temporary prices and incomes policy, and since the policy has been entirely abandoned by the Government is not the C.B.I. merely acting in line with Government practice?

Mr. Dell

I know of the right hon. Gentleman's support for the C.B.I. in this matter. The voluntary notification of incomes continues, and I am glad to see that at any rate the C.B.I. is continuing voluntarily to notify prices. What I regret is that it now seems to be unwilling to give the Department sufficient time to investigate these price increases and to consider whether it would be appropriate to refer them to the National Board for Prices and Incomes. This is a very grave step and I regret that it has been taken.