HC Deb 02 March 1971 vol 812 cc1396-7
Q5. Dr. Gilbert

asked the Prime Minister if he intends to take the chair at the March meeting of the National Economic Development Council.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir, but I expect to do so at the April meeting.

Dr. Gilbert

In view of the fact that at the last meeting of the National Economic Development Council both the T.U.C. and the C.B.I. asked the Government to change their course, and as they are receiving equally unpalatable advice from every other quarter, may I ask the Prime Minister whether he will give the House the names of any independent reputable economic institutions either here or abroad which are at present endorsing his policies?

The Prime Minister

It is right that the Government should take note of what is said at "Neddy" meetings by the T.U.C. and the C.B.I., but the final decision on economic policies must, as with every other Administration, rest with the Government of the day. If the hon. Gentleman were to consult many observers in Europe and North America as well as in this country, he would find a great deal of support for the Government's policies.

Mr. Grimond

Has the Prime Minister any plans for discussing with the T.U.C. either some general policy to contain inflation or any policy for expansion?

The Prime Minister

As I said in the economic debate, I am willing to discuss economic policies with the T.U.C. at any time if it wishes to do so. The same applies to the C.B.I. As has just been remarked by the hon. Member for Dudley (Dr. Gilbert), these things have been discussed in "Neddy", which is the natural forum for all three parties to have the fullest possible discussion. This is why I am proposing to take the Chair at the April meeting.