HC Deb 06 May 1971 vol 816 cc1641-2
Q8. Mr. Carter

asked the Prime Minister if he will list in the OFFICIAL REPORT those official visits he intends to make in the remainder of 1971.

The Prime Minister

Such visits are announced as and when they are arranged.

Mr. Carter

Is the Prime Minister aware that hon. Members believe that the number of official visits he is prepared to make is inadequate? Will he, therefore, extend his list and make official visits to the West Midlands to meet the unemployed? Or is he so insensitive on the subject of unemployment that he will force thousands of the unemployed to march on London to No. 10 Downing Street during the coming winter in order to bring their problems to his attention?

The Prime Minister

No one has ever accused me before of being insensitive to the problems of the unemployed. As far as visits are concerned, my responsibility is first to the House of Commons and to Government business and then to be prepared to make visits in the country. I make a considerable number of visits but the proportion must be kept in balance.

Mr. Atkinson

I do not think anyone will accuse the Prime Minister of being insensitive to unemployment because—[HON. MEMBERS: "Question!"]—for something like seven years we listened to him protesting most vehemently about the unemployment figures when they were nearly half the present level.

Mr. Burden

Is it not peculiar that the Opposition behave as if there were no unemployment when they were in Government? Although there has been a growth in unemployment, why did they not take the same attitude when there was considerable unemployment during their term of office?

The Prime Minister

It may be peculiar, but what is undoubtedly characteristic now is that hon. Gentlemen opposite have absolutely no policies for dealing with wage demands or unemployment.

Mr. Harold Walker

Will the Prime Minister answer the question I put to him last week, namely, when are we to have the stroke by which he will cut unemployment and rising prices?

The Prime Minister

We have discussed this on many occasions. Even when the action is taken the hon. Gentleman will not recognise it.

Captain W. Elliot

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that the real arbiter of the level of unemployment in this country is the overseas customer, and if our prices are too high, nothing on earth will make him buy our products? Will my right hon. Friend continue his valiant efforts to tackle the disease and not be misled by the symptoms?

The Prime Minister

I believe that there is a growing realisation throughout the country that it is possible to price ourselves out of export markets and for men and women to price themselves out of jobs. It is this realisation which is now leading to the change in attitudes that we are finding.