HC Deb 02 March 1972 vol 832 cc737-9
Q4. Mr. Ewing

asked the Prime Minister what representations he has received from persons who were present at the Scottish Assembly sponsored by the Scottish Trades Union Congress in Edinburgh on 14th February.

The Prime Minister

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on Tuesday to a Question from the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell). —[Vol. 832, c. 96.]

Mr. Ewing

While welcoming the news that the Prime Minister has agreed to meet the Standing Commission, may I ask whether he accepts that the assembly itself was born out of frustration with, first, the Government's economic policies, which will not solve the unemployment problem in Scotland, and, secondly, the lack of confidence in the Common Market regional policies to solve the unemployment problem in Scotland? When he meets the Standing Commission will the Prime Minister listen closely to what it has to say so that the unemployment problem in Scotland can at long last be tackled in a realistic manner?

The Prime Minister

The assembly has sent me a copy of its proposals, which are now being closely studied. It has now been agreed that I should meet the assembly on 27th March. I assure the hon. Gentleman that at that meeting we shall express our views about these specific proposals and listen closely and carefully to any other proposals which the assembly wishes to make.

Mr. Adley

When my right hon. Friend has another meeting with the T.U.C., either in Scotland or in England, will he remind it of the words of the Leader of the Opposition, when he was Prime Minister, that one's man's price increase is another man's wage increase? [HON. MEMBERS: "The other way round,"] Will my right hon. Friend also point out to the T.U.C. that Chrysler has just announced a reduction in its work force, which presumably must not be unrelated to the recent wage increase granted by the management as a result of pressure from the unions?

The Prime Minister

My hon. Friend is right in saying that one man's wage increase is another man's price increase. I should have thought that the Chrysler announcement was a clear indication of that.

Mr. Grimond

Will the Prime Minister tell us whether, when he meets the Standing Commission later this month, he hopes to be able to announce a general policy for the assistance of shipbuilding, in particular for other Scottish yards as well as U.C.S.?

The Prime Minister

I cannot give the right hon. Gentleman an undertaking at this point about commitments to be given to the commission specifically at the meeting on 27th March. However, I will discuss the matter with the commission and indicate the way that the Government's thinking is moving.