§ Q7. Mr. Dalyell
asked the Prime Minister if he received an official invitation to address the September, 1972, conference of the Trades Union Congress.
§ Mr. Rost
Is it not a pity that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was not invited to address the TUC conference in order that he could lend support to Mr. Feather and other reasonable trade union leaders who are anxious to co-operate with the Government's initiative to curb inflation because they, like my right hon. Friend, realise that the country will no longer tolerate the sabotaging of the national prosperity by sectional selfish interests?
§ Mr. Dalyell
How does the right hon. Gentleman interpret the Prime Minister's remarks at Blackpool last week that the parties must tell each other all the facts? Does this mean that we can expect legislation on the disclosure of business interests, as is wanted by the TUC?
§ Mr. Carr
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister pointed out at the Conservative Party conference last week the novel fact about the present tripartite discussions that they are taking place on the basis of a much fuller exchange of basic economic information and forecasts than has ever been the case before.
§ Mr. James Hamilton
Will the right hon. Gentleman let the Prime Minister know that many of us are very sorry that he was not invited to address the TUC because this would have afforded the opportunity to him to hear from the trade union leaders that they are not alone responsible for the inflationary tendencies? Will the right hon. Gentleman also tell the Prime Minister that Lord Stokes has made it indelibly clear that he would do this country a great deal of credit if he talked about the misdemeanours of other countries and put our own country into proper perspective?
§ Mr. Carr
As I have said, I am sure that my right hon. Friend would have welcomed the opportunity to address the TUC. It is fair to point out that neither he nor any other member of the Government has ever claimed that pay is the only cause of inflation. What cannot be 445 denied, and was never denied by the Labour Government, is that it is the biggest element in maintaining or failing to maintain stable prices. There is also a direct connection between controlling inflation and employment. One of the reasons that we have at last got the very much better unemployment figures this month, with a rising number of vacancies, is that with inflation coming under some control and expansion going forward we now have an opportunity such as we have not had for many years.