HC Deb 17 February 1972 vol 831 c614
Q4. Mr. George Cunningham

asked the Prime Minister if he will make it a practice of his Administration not to bring forward proposals for legislation which require parties to break contractual agreements.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. It is not unusual for draft legislation to provide for the breaking of, or to apply conditions to contracts which are prejudicial to the purposes of the legislation.

Mr. Cunningham

Does the Prime Minister realise that before the last council elections the then Conservative Islington Council entered three-year agreements with its council tenants as part of its new deal, and that the new Labour Council will be forced by the Housing Finance Bill to break those agreements? Is that situation in any way in conflict with the right hon. Gentleman's promise at the last General Election about honest Government?

The Prime Minister

I do not think so. I understand that there can be exceptions to Clause 70, with exemption given by the Secretary of State for special long-term agreements. I do not think what the hon. Gentleman said is valid. In any case, this matter is now before a Standing Committee, and the Clause has not vet been debated. As for the hon. Gentleman's general proposition, Housing Acts since 1915 have had this provision. There is nothing new about it. It occurs in other legislation as well—for example, the Prices and Incomes Act, 1967, of the last Government, which prevented employers from paying wages which had already been agreed with their employees.

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