HC Deb 29 January 1973 vol 849 cc1091-121

10.33 p.m.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Patrick Jenkin)

I beg to move, That the Counter-Inflation (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972 Extension Order 1973 (S.I., 1973, No. 73), a copy of which was laid before this House on 23rd January, be approved. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment explained fully to the House earlier today the sequence of events that will enable the transition to take place from the standstill to the arrangements under the Bill to which we have just given a Second Reading. The order is required to extend the standstill period under Section 1(2) of the Counter-Inflation (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972 for the full 150 days.

As my right hon. Friend explained, the standstill powers will automatically die when the order is made bringing the code into operation and triggering the powers of the Bill. That applies with the exception of Clauses 3 and 4 of the Bill which save the standstill provisions as they affect prices and rents, and on those the transition will take place later on a date that is spelt out in the Bill—29th April.

This extension is needed in order to hold the position until the new Bill comes into force and to allow adequate time for full discussion of the provisions of the Bill in Parliament. I will be happy to answer any questions or to try to deal with any points which right hon. and hon. Members may put, but I do not think that I need say more at this stage than that I hope the House will feel it right in the circumstances to approve the order.

10.40 p.m.

Mr. Peter Shore (Stepney)

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury has moved the order rather briefly, even curtly, but we know that the major purpose is to extend the provisions of the Counter-Inflation (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972 from its original period of 90 days to the new period of 150 days.

I do not think that the House is surprised to be faced with the order tonight. I think the Government always intended that the period of the freeze should last for the full five or six months, depending on whether one counts from 6th November or from 28th November, when the Act came into force. They were, in fact, engaged on a public relations exercise rather than a serious proposal when they originally promulgated a freeze period of 90 days, no doubt thinking that this would make the legislation a little more acceptable to us.

We opposed the Second Reading of the 1972 Act and of course we shall oppose its extension for a further 60 days. But let me admit to a doubt which crept into my mind, particularly today when I heard the Secretary of State for Employment and the Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs, about the wisdom of proceeding away from the Temporary Provisions Act into the new territory of the permanent measure we debated earlier today.

The impression I have now very strongly received is that instead of phase 2 of the policy, which we heard about earlier today, leading to any easing of the freeze situation, it may well be that we are about to enter a still more draconian period of wage and income control than we have now, and if it is not more draconian and more severe in terms of the policy which will be pursued—I believe that it is, although full evidence of what is to be the policy has been withheld from us—the method of carrying out the freeze provisions or the control provisions under the new Bill are clearly far less acceptable to anyone who has any regard for parliamentary and democratic traditions than are the procedures under the 1972 Act.

As we are all acutely aware, the major change—to us, it is a regression—which has taken place is that whereas at least the 1972 Act relies upon ministerial orders which we can pray against in the ordinary way in this House, the new Bill actually proposes to bypass Parliament altogether and to make our procedures here analogous to those in that Assembly in Strasbourg rather than to the proceedings of a proper Parliament as we have known them for so long.

There has been an ominous silence from the Government on the whole question of their expectations about price increases in the period ahead. We know that prices will rise. I do not think that the Government would deny that. We fear that prices will explode. Of course, I do not expect the Government to confirm that. But the crucial piece of arithmetic is whether the £1 plus 4 per cent. formula for income increases in phase 2 will equal or fall behind the anticipated increase in prices in the same period. If they only equal or if they fall behind, we must look forward to a period in which real wages fall.

I give one illustration. Let us take a man earning £30 a week. On the Government's new formula in phase 2 he can expect an increase of £1 plus 4 per cent.; in other words, £1 plus £1.20. If PAYE is then deducted at the rate of 30 per cent. or thereabouts, 66p will have to be deducted from that increase which means that he will be left with roughly £1.54. That is equivalent to an increase of just over 5 per cent. net in the year.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

The right hon. Gentleman has made a fundamental mistake in expressing a percentage of the increase after tax as against the total income before tax. That cannot be right.

Mr. Shore

No. I have made the percentage increase on the basis of the £30 that he received. I have tried to express a net increase of £1.50 on that basic £30. If I allowed for an original post-tax income and then added the post-tax increase, it would make only a small difference to the percentage calculation.

The crucial question is whether the Government can guarantee that their price control policy this year under phase 2 will lead to an increase in prices of not more than 5 or 6 per cent. It would be a remarkable achievement if they were able to do that. During the past 30 months the increase in prices has been of the order of 22 per cent., or an average of 8 per cent. a year.

I mention that to express my doubt about whether we are moving from the period of freeze into a less draconian period in the so-called phase 2 which lies ahead. However, I stifle my doubt and express my opposition to the extension of the freeze period from 90 to 150 days for certain other reasons which in my view are overwhelming.

The first and obvious reason is that we are not, and have not been, dealing with a genuine freeze. We have been dealing with a freeze on incomes but with no more than a chill on prices. If the Government leave out of price control such matters as housing, land and rents and exclude so much of the nation's diet in terms of foodstuffs, they cannot expect the nation to take them seriously in their claim to be imposing a genuine prices freeze. That is a major gap in it.

It is not just a theoretical question, it is not just a matter of saying that there is a gap; it is the practical experience of the nation that prices are and have been going up since the freeze began.

I do not want to be unfair to the Chief Secretary, but the diagram, the only one, in the report on beef prices is remarkable. The upward curve, which is one of the most dramatic that I have ever seen, begins at the point at which we had the freeze imposed. In other words, the price of beef has risen from 120 to about 160 in the index since 11th November. That is the experience of people in the shops.

Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)

Surely my right hon. Friend wants to be fair. Does he realise that the Government knew that beef prices were going up? They said that the matter was outside their control and they advised people to eat chicken. Is my right hon. Friend aware that, according to the Government, the price of chicken has gone down? But not in the shops. This is their idea of putting matters right. Apparently if one cannot afford to eat apples one should eat peaches.

Mr. Shore

One consequence is that as meat has become more scarce and the price has gone up people have had to shift their demands to other foodstuffs and we are now getting a heightening of chicken prices, which is inevitable.

Another piece of evidence of what has happened in the so-called freeze is the Financial Times Grocery Index, to which many hon. Members have alluded, which is a reasonably soundly based index. The movement in the price index is remarkable in the period since the freeze began. On 11th November when the freeze began the figure was 114½. Now in mid-January, according to the index, it is 117½. It has gone up three points in two months. That is a rate of increase of 18 per cent. a year. That is the actual experience of the freeze so far. Quite clearly to many people this freeze is at best a chill and to others it is a fraud.

Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater)

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to quote the increase in food prices in the United States? Was it not an annual rate of 62 per cent. in December. Might this suggest that what he calls a chill has had a substantial effect on food prices in this country?

Mr. Shore

I do not think it is sensible to try to draw upon experience of an entirely different situation in a different country. We will not help each other in reaching the truth about these matters, which is difficult enough to establish anyway.

I want now to turn to what in many ways is still a more worrying point. Not only has experience of the past 60 or 90 days been that the freeze is not working on prices, but what is entirely relevant to the point before us is whether in the next 60 days of the extended period of the freeze it is likely to be more or less effective.

I want to put to the Chief Secretary some serious points which I believe show that the evidence points to a far worse experience in the 60 days of the extended freeze than we have had so far. Let me be clear about the period to which we are referring. It has been generally accepted that the freeze on prices will continue until 28th April.

First, there is to be the next round of council rent increases from the beginning of April. There is to be a substantial increase covering perhaps millions of council tenants. Secondly, we are all to be faced with new rate bills. From what I have heard hinted at, from all around London at any rate, we are in for swingeing increases in rates during the coming year, beginning in April, reflecting the rise in costs and the past inflationary situation that has built up and is in the pipeline and which the Government are trying so desperately to arrest.

Thirdly, under the guise of floating sterling the Government have devalued by 10 per cent. in the last 9 to 10 months, and the effect is coming through on raw materials and import prices generally. If anyone doubts that, let him look at the index of import prices or the prices of raw materials, fuels, and so on. One can see the mounting pressure of increased prices of imports, which will end in increased retail prices.

Now I turn to the question of foodstuff prices. A statement was made from the Dispatch Box this afternoon about CAP prices as they apply to Britain. I do not wish to make too much of this now, but if the statement means what it says—and it does—the Government are committed to raising bacon prices because they have to phase out the £60 million subsidy in three stages by 1st June. That means they must start in the period before the present so-called extended freeze expires. The same is true of the winding up of the sugar subsidy, which again is to be phased out by July. The subsidies are to be phased out gradually on a month by month basis.

The last thing that I shall mention affecting the period immediately ahead is the imposition of VAT. We all know what the Government propose to do about VAT in the new Bill, but price increases will be felt during the period of the alleged extension of the price freeze.

The point that I wish to put to the Minister arising from all this is to ask how, when he considers all these factors objectively and soberly, as I hope he does, and realises that they must make themselves felt in terms of prices rises before the end of April, he can in all conscience propose to the House and to the nation to extend the alleged price freeze for the next 60 days? It is not convincing, and because it is not convincing it will not help him in his relations with those outside who are only too aware of what is happening to their standard of living.

Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)


Mr. Shore

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me for not giving way, but I do not wish to encroach any further than I need on the time of the House.

In addition to the argument that I have put forward opposing the extension of the freeze on the ground that it is not a genuine freeze in regard to prices, I wish to stress that the extra 60 days will increase not just the anomalies but the injustices affecting all those wage earners who have been caught by the inevitably arbitrary nature—to some extent I accept that—of the cut-off date when the first freeze was imposed. Whether by luck or by design I do not know, but far too many lower paid workers were caught on the wrong side of the dividing line.

We know about the agricultural workers; and about the civil servants who are lagging behind, whose pay research unit is supposed to bring them up. There are the hospital workers, a number of those engaged in retail trades and, above all, the co-operative society employees. This is a formidable body of men among the lowest paid who have been caught by this freeze. I should not have thought it beyond the power of the Government to have introduced a sufficient degree of flexibility to enable them to deal with the problem of lower paid workers, if they had the mind to do it. Unhappily they have not, with the result that all these cases will have further delays. There will be built up further tensions and resentment, which can be nothing but a very unhappy augury for the period of phase 2.

I can see nothing to which I can look forward in phase 2. But we should all be well advised not to give the Minister the right to extend this unbalanced and unfair alleged freeze by voting against the order.

11.1 p.m.

Dr. Tom Stuttaford (Norwich, South)

I have two questions for my hon. Friend. Is he now able to make a statement about the continuation of the place of the proposed museum charges in not only the extended freeze but also phase 2 and phase 3? A statement has been promised for some time. Those of us who are interested in this matter are waiting with anxiety to see whether this tax cannot be allowed to wither and die.

My second point is, perhaps, rather more important. That is the question of the price of leather. It is absolutely nonsensical that the price of the hide of a beast is controlled while the price of the inside, the meat, is allowed to rise. I find it hard to see how that can be justified. The fact that the price of hides has risen so much means that the price of shoes can no longer be economic. This is, perhaps, yet another nail in the coffin of the British shoe industry.

Will my hon. Friend the Minister explain why hides are subject to a set of controls different from those for the inside of animals?

11.3 p.m.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)

I take up a subject raised by the hon. Member for Norwich, South (Dr. Stuttaford). It is a matter both he and I have raised endlessly during financial debates. That is the question of the committee under the chairmanship of Mrs. Monro which is about to report on children's shoes. We would all agree that this committee, having been set up last July on not the most complicated subject in the world, should have reported by now or that, at any rate, we should have some information.

I hope that on 6th March there will be the most favourable treatment for children's shoes, following that committee's report.

Dr. Stuttaford

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the committee last met on 6th December?

Mr. Dalyell

I understand also that the report has been with the Treasury for a number of weeks. It is high time that the Treasury dealt with the subject matter of the report.

I am searching after truth this evening.

Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)

Does the hon. Gentleman know what is in the report?

Mr. Dalyell

No. I am searching after truth because I did not have much luck this afternoon when I asked the Secretary of State for Employment what I thought was a simple question about the Weights and Measures Inspectorate. I repeat the question. I am here seeking information rather than making points, because I genuinely do not understand this, and I suspect that I am not the only one. As I understood, the Weights and Measures Inspectorate, if it found that anything was wrong in its view under the legislation being introduced, only has the option of reporting this to the Attorney-General's office. The easy remark to make is that the Attorney-General and his office will be very busy in these circumstances. It seems incredible that every kind of complaint to the Weights and Measures Inspectorate solemnly has to go to the Attorney-General and his office. The Chief Secretary shakes his head, so perhaps when he winds up the debate he will take time to explain exactly what the mechanism is.

11.5 p.m.

Mr. John Biffen (Oswestry)

I would obviously be commending myself to my colleagues if I kept my remarks very brief, as I realise that a number of people would like to make mini contributions to the debate. The temptation is to enlarge it to an economic debate, but it seems that the true rôle of Parliament in these circumstances is to be tolerably specific within the terms set by the statutory instrument. I therefore want to raise a number of short and fairly sharp points with the Chief Secretary and then to draw the conclusion that this kind of exercise will underline the importance in any continuing legislation of ensuring the maximum parliamentary presence, which is not quite the same thing as the maximum ministerial presence.

Does the Counter-Inflation (Temporary Provisions) Act, which we are now renewing, apply to agricultural rents? There has been some ambiguity on this point, and I hope that my hon. Friend can reassure me. I declare an interest, though a quixotic one. I am wholly landless, yet I am on the Shropshire county executive of the Country Landowners Association. It would seem that the National Union of Agricultural Workers was covered by the provisions of the Act but that the landowners were not.

Next, there is the legal procedure used by the Government in the implementation of the Act. The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry told me in a Parliamentary Answer on 23rd January: No orders relating to price increases have been made."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd January, 1973; Vol. 849, c. 1180.] Presumably, therefore, the only legal action sanctified by law must be under Section 2(6) which uses the words …or by notice given to the person…. To what extent has this policy proceeded by notice? We know that no orders have been made. That takes one into the actual application of the policy, because one of the first instances—almost a cause célèbre—was that of Gale's Honey not being allowed to put up the price, on the principle elaborated by the Department of Trade and Industry that the other operating sections of Reckitt & Colman were profitable and could therefore carry the losses of the subsidiary. But suppose Colman's is in competition with other operators who manufacture only honey? Once we have a, as it were, Government-directed loss leader, and that is what it is, what happens for smaller businesses which cannot afford the large-scale diversification of the industrial giant? It is realities of this kind in industrial and commercial life which will gradually percolate back to us when this kind of legislation gets under way.

I say in the presence of my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Tom King) that I had amiable discussions with Dickinson Robinson about an item last manufactured long before 6th November, but I was told that the Department for Trade and Industry advised that the price that should be charged was not the price that would have been charged had the commodity been made on 6th November, but the last price charged however long ago. That seems to be a most bureaucratic and bumbling interpretation which invites the most oblique attempts and is the least satisfactory.

My third and final point is this. We read only within the last few days that the newsprint industry has had its application disallowed notwithstanding the movement in pulp prices and the consequences of the devaluation effectively of the direction that sterling has been floating. As I know that my hon. Friends would wish to be acquitted of any political considerations in taking action which was advantageous for newspaper proprietors and to the detriment of their suppliers and therefore would not wish to pay a nod in the direction of Richard Murdoch—that clearly is not their policy—it is clear that we must know what is happening in this instance.

First, have Bowaters and Peter Dixon and the rest of them that have been applying for the price increase had their application refused as a result of a notice under Section 2(6) or under an order under Section 2(6) or in a cosy little chat at the Department? If it were at a cosy little chat and therefore my right hon. Friends are in possession of the information, to what extent are the newsprint manufacturers expected to absorb losses? To what extent are their raw material prices rising to a degree not being allowed to be compensated, notwithstanding the implied terms of paragraph 5 of Cmnd. 5125—"A Programme for Controlling Inflation: The First Stage".

That brings us back once again to the question that some paper manufacturers have widely diversified their activities and can take this treatment but other companies—Peter Dixon is a case in point—are in no position to accept corresponding treatment. It is these situations which arise out of the working of the Act which make me so hesitant about the future. I know that my hon. Friend the Chief Secretary will wish to answer as fully and frankly as he is able.

11.12 p.m.

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)

I wish to underline what was said by my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) about those sections of workers who have been badly affected by the freeze and who will continue to be so affected for the next 60 days. At one stage it was alleged by Ministers that almost all price increases were due to high wage settlements—[Interruption.]—The Prime Minister and his colleagues have often said that it was all the fault of workers demanding higher wages and getting high wage settlements.

One of the arguments always used was that the agricultural workers did not come into this category and that they were one of the lowest paid sections of workers. They have been affected by the freeze from the word "go". The irony is that since the freeze food prices, particularly those with which agricultural workers are directly concerned, have shot up to almost astronomical levels. No one can suggest that this is the fault of agricultural workers. Once food prices began to shoot up we heard about the crisis of world food prices. We discovered that there was a shortage of food in some parts of the world that we had not heard about. Then all the beef suddenly disappeared. Some wicked people thought that it was disappearing to the continent of Europe.

The point that I am underlining is that this cannot be blamed on the agricultural workers. It is sheer hypocrisy on the part of the Government to suggest that they are concerned about the lower-paid workers. The agricultural workers are low paid. I am not a townie who does not know anything about agricultural workers. I have many relatives who are agricultural workers. I was born and brought up in a small country town. Many of my cousins and relatives are to this day working in villages in Hertfordshire, and their wages are frozen. A further 60 days for the agricultural workers means a further severe hardship to them and their wives and families. Let us hear no more from the Government about their concern for the lower-paid workers.

The other group about whom I want to say a few words are the civil servants. They are not renowned for their militancy. They do not normally march in demonstrations shouting "Heath out". But in Liverpool, as in most parts of the county a couple of weeks ago, they were marching through the streets before attending a meeting demanding "Heath out".

Mr. Arthur Lewis

All due to Hugh Scanlon.

Mr. John Page (Harrow, West)

Quite true.

Mr. Heffer

The reason for that is very simple. Civil servants' pay is always behind. They are never pace-setters. They catch up every two years. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Civil Service Department knows that. He is responsible, or he should be, for the Civil Service. Certainly the Prime Minister is responsible for the Civil Service. Every two years there is an assessment and the civil servants catch up with outside industry.

Mr. Edward Milne (Blyth)

If they are lucky.

Mr. Heffer

But they will not get it. They will not even get it under phase 2. They will still have to catch up. They will not catch up if they get £1 plus 4 per cent. The Government have broken something which has been long established. They have broken traditional rights and agreements. That has never happened before in the Civil Service. It is a typical example of the way the Government act.

I heard arguments from the platform of the civil servants' meeting and from the floor of the hall that made me think that even Tory civil servants will not vote Tory at the next General Election. They did not know that I was there as I stood at the back. There are sections of workers who because of the freeze and phase 2 will be among the most militant workers—and they are workers who have never before been militant. Hughie Scanlon has not been within a hundred miles of them. They will outflank even Hughie Scanlon.

Mr. John Page

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that when it is seen that the most militant union leaders and unions are always successful, it will encourage the less militant to become militant? Is this not why the traditionally moderate unions are following the lead given them by the Scanlons and others?

Mr. Heffer

The hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. John Page), after all the debates we had on the industrial relations legislation, is beginning to get some glimmer of what goes on in the minds of those who are involved in industrial struggles. In Liverpool I heard bowler-hatted civil servants talk about striking. Militancy has stepped up since the Industrial Relations Act. We said during those debates that that legislation would undermine basic negotiating structures and take away collective bargaining. The Government are now laying the basis for more militant action because that is the only way workers will get their rights. If free collective bargaining and free negotiation are destroyed, the Government cannot complain about what will happen.

The agricultural workers, civil servants, hospital workers have among their number some of the lowest-paid workers, and it is these workers who will suffer most from the freeze. The Government have allowed food prices to rise deliberately; there is no justification for what they are doing. It may please the old ladies of Bournemouth, but it will not please ordinary working class people. There- fore, if the Government have any sense they will not go ahead with this order.

11.24 p.m.

Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater)

I wish to echo what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen), not in his reference to my ex-employers and the strangely resurrected product—I must find out from him what it is—but in his illustration involving Gale's honey. This is a point that concerns a large number of companies and many hon. Members. It also emphasises the difficulty we have in lacking the criteria by which the judgments will be made.

It is of considerable importance that these codes are ready at the earliest possible moment during the Committee stage of the Bill. I am considerably more interested in the codes than in the Bill itself. The Bill is the necessary mechanism, but how and what is to be administered are crucial issues. I hope that the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry will be borne in mind when the codes are prepared, because this sort of distortion created during the freeze would be totally wrong over a prolonged period, as he said.

Mr. Biffen

Would not my hon. Friend agree that it is therefore imperative that the codes are presented in such a way that they may be amended by the House?

Mr. King

I accept the point behind my hon. Friend's remark. For that reason, I was particularly pleased to hear that it was intended to have a debate on the draft codes. Provided that the debate is early enough—and the Minister's phrase was "before they become operative"—the comments of hon. Members will be able to be incorporated in the revised codes, so far as that is practicable, before they are presented to the House.

All Governments like to feel that they are on the middle road, fighting their way through between extremists on both sides. I may be able to make my hon. Friend feel a little more comfortable if I say that I hold a view entirely contrary to that of hon. Members opposite. I regret the order, not because it extends the freeze by two months, that being, in the view of the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore), two months too long, but because I consider it too short.

All the research into and the evidence of prices and incomes policies stress the problems that arise once this form of prices and incomes policy is introduced, when the initial freeze is over and the difficulties and anomalies arise. Once one gets into a gradual relaxation, the advantages are rapidly whittled away. There is some evidence for saying that only the freeze—what my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) called Act I—in the long run has any major effect.

For that reason, I believe that my right hon. Friends chose too short a time for the standstill—understandably, but I regret it. I appreciate the difficulties that a standstill involves—they have been expressed by Labour Members—but we are looking for a real dent in the inflationary rate, and there is considerable evidence from experience for believing that it is during the standstill, the period of total freeze, that that occurs.

It is a matter not so much of the details of the freeze as of the length of the freeze. It is hoped to reduce the rate of salary and income growth but if there is some acceleration after the freeze to catch up, all that is left is the product of the time lag, and if the period of the freeze is too short, the value of the whole exercise is greatly reduced.

I expect that these brief remarks will make my hon. Friend feel a little more comfortable, and that the Government will feel that they are following the sensible middle road between the strange views of the extremists on either side but should be grateful if my right hon. Friend would explain why the order could not be extended yet further.

11.30 p.m.

Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)

I do not think that the hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Tom King) can have looked at the graph which my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) showed to him. He ought to spend a little time going round the shops in his constituency looking at prices. Let him see what is happening. We have a so-called freeze which the Government admit is not working. Prices are still rocketing and excuses are found for that all the time. It is said that beef is not being produced in sufficient quantities, there is a shortfall, or that it is going to Europe. There are a thousand and one excuses. The former Minister of Agriculture, now the Leader of the House, when asked about apple shortages said that the people should eat peaches. Now we have the Minister saying that because beef is short people should eat chicken. People cannot get chicken because it has soared in price.

I do not know where we get chicken from. I thought we produced it at home. I did not think that it was rising in price because the French or the Eskimoes were eating more of it. Not an item of food, imported or home produced, has failed to rise in price. People can, if they are lucky, get scrag end of lamb—for 40p to 50p per lb. That is the sort of price they were paying for beef. Even wild rabbit, if it can be obtained, is about 30p to 40p per lb. This is the equivalent of 6s., 8s., 10s., 12s. per lb. The Minister says he can do nothing about it. Yet wages are being severely frozen.

My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) was right to say that we cannot blame wage increases. We cannot blame old-age pensioners. They are always a year behind in getting their measly increase to compensate for increases in the cost of living. These people have had wage freezes for years. We are being asked to grant an extension for a so-called remedy which we know will not work and which will make the patient worse.

Hon. Members opposite are cheering the Government to the echo, saying how good this is. The Liberals, who attend here only when they wish to speak, and then vanish, say that they were always in favour of this. I heard a prominent member of the Liberal Party saying how he was in favour of this. Then I read in the Press that he has been allocated 10,000 shares. I do not think that the ordinary engineering worker would mind not receiving an increase if some big property company gave him £10,000 worth of shares.

A few weeks ago I heard "Any Questions" on the radio. Some prominent gentlemen were on the programme. I heard a Tory Member who does not attend here much, loudly proclaiming his faith and confidence in this Government, saying how he supported the wage freeze and how it was the wicked trade unionists who were responsible. He asked, "Why don't they have a cut and stop asking for wage increases?" I picked up an evening paper and saw that he had just bought a yacht for an alleged £60,000. There are many workers who spend a whole lifetime, working 40–50 hours a week and who never see £60,000.

Yet we have these people coming here occasionally and saying that they are in favour of the freeze. I heard the Prime Minister say that he was in favour of this extension. I also read that he bought a new yacht for £20,000, or £30.000. Is it fair or reasonable to tell the agricultural worker that he has to make do on £20 a week and to give the Prime Minister another £360 a year in tax cuts next April? The Government are telling us that they are out to control prices yet they are deliberately putting them up.

We have the Minister of Agriculture putting a levy on apples. Their price will go up by deliberate Government action. They are preventing good apples coming in cheaply from Australia and New Zealand because they are putting a levy on apples. As my hon. Friend rightly said, we have had this marvellous new Minister of Agriculture going to Brussels and voluntarily agreeing to a 3p per lb. increase in the price of bacon as from July. This is not the wicked Hugh Scanlon. This is the Minister of Agriculture, who has deliberately agreed in Brussels to put up the price of bacon by 3p per lb. as from July. It is the same Minister as has agreed to put 3p per lb. on sugar as from July.

Every day of the week the Government deliberately increase the cost of living and the prices that the housewife has to pay and, as my hon. Friend has said, deliberately seeing that rents and rates will go up. Then they say that the poor old worker on £20 a week must tighten his belt. It is fantastic.

One of the reasons for these dramatic increases is our going into Europe. We find this very Government—who are trying, they say, to control inflation—paying £23 a day, not a week, to a group of selected Members, who rarely attend here, to spend their time in a so-called European Parliament—£23 a day tax-free.

Mr. Norman Miscampbell (Blackpool, North)

The hon. Member could go.

Mr. Lewis

No, I cannot. I am not persona grata. The hon. Member can go. Even so, the principle remains wrong. If the old-age pensioner or the agricultural worker has to make do with £20 a week, is it right for any hon. Member to get £23 a day tax-free—and first-class fare—when all he has to do is to go over there? I am glad to see the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) here because he has been one of the permanent residents there. He will probably agree that a worker in Streatham, even if he is an engineer probably on £30 a week, looks a bit askance when he knows that Members of Parliament are picking up probably £150 or £200 a week tax-free on top of their salary and other expenses, and some of them also get——

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu)

Order. I should be grateful if the hon. Member would refer his remarks more nearly to the order.

Mr. Lewis

Yes, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It is relevant to point out that if the Government are trying to control the freeze on workers' wages they should try to see that the freeze applies to Members of Parliament. I suggest that one of the ways they could do this——

Mr. Sandys (Streatham)

May I point out that I am not a Member of the European Parliament?

Mr. Lewis

I agree. I said that the right hon. Gentleman spent a lot of his time in Europe, and he can vouch for the figures I am giving. I leave the point; it has been made. The right hon. Gentleman is now unfortunately off it. His wonderful term of office has ended. It is the fact, however, that several Members of Parliament here——

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Will the hon. Gentleman kindly do what I asked him to do a few moments ago and relate his remarks to the order?

Mr. Lewis

Yes, Mr. Deputy Speaker; I had left that. I was going on to say that there are Members present who can vouch for the fact that, while proclaiming themselves in favour of the order, they have been spending more in one day than some workers are supposed to be entitled to for a whole week's work. Therefore, I hope that my hon. Friends will not only oppose the order but will on every conceivable occasion show up just how unfair it is.

My last word is this. I am waiting for the time when the order will not be necessary and when the Government, after two and a half years now in office, not only drop their slogan of cutting prices at a stroke but actually start to cut some prices. Recently I asked how many prices the Government had cut since they took office. They could not name one. When the Government start cutting prices, they will be able to count on the support of the trade unionists and workers.

11.40 p.m.

Mr. James Ramsden (Harrogate)

As the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) mentioned the question of Civil Service pay, I should like briefly to refer to the related point of the pensions of civil servants and others who may be affected by the freeze. My hon. Friend the Chief Secretary will be familiar with the point.

The pay question has been discussed by the Prime Minister, and no doubt by others today. I am not aware that the pension point has been raised. It stems from the fact that, whereas the current level of salary of civil servants and many other people is one thing, the pension, which on retirement is geared to the rate of salary in the final year of service, is another. Were these pensions to be permanently affected by a pause lasting a year or part of a year, plainly a point would be raised which deserved consideration. If my hon. Friend could say that this point will be considered, or if he were able to go further and indicate the lines on which a solution might be found, I think that the House would be grateful.

11. 42 p.m.

Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)

I have no doubt that the Government will get their extension of time and I hope that it will help to bring about the result which the exercise is designed to achieve, namely, to bring inflation down to an acceptable level. I hope that my hon. Friend the Chief Secreteary will use all his discretion to avoid unnecessary anomalies. There is an anomaly which could affect people who depend on dividends from investments in public companies if the discretion which I shall ask him to use is not brought into effect.

Suppose that a company, for special reasons, found that last year was an unusual, anomalous year when its dividend had to be at a low level, or indeed no dividend was paid, in order to control the company properly. It would be unfair if in this period, when it was declaring its dividend for this year, it had to keep it down to the level which operated in an anomalous year. I should like to feel that when a company can show that its last year's level was unusually and uniquely low, my hon. Friend will allow it to take into account the previous year or the year previous to that.

The question of the payment of dividends affects many retired people and others who rely on their dividends to meet current bills. It would be wrong if the dividends were kept at a certain level because of the uniquely sad situation which occurred in one year. I declare an interest in this mater because I am chairman of a public company which might well be affected. If the company is not allowed, by the operation of the imputation tax introduced in the last Budget, to pay a dividend at a level which the year's profits allows and which is in keeping with previous years, if not with the last year, there will be a tax payment which is injurious to the company and to the people who eventually receive the dividend.

Although I appreciate that my hon. Friend will want to keep dividends at a level no higher than last year's level, he will not, by the operation of the tax system, want to put dividend receivers in a worse position than everyone else. I ask him to use his discretion in allowing firms which can establish without doubt that last year was a uniquely bad year not to have to keep their dividends at last year's level but to allow them to pay dividends on the basis of an average.

11.45 p.m.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

I will reply briefly to the points which have been raised in this short debate on the extension of the standstill order.

Several hon. Members sought to say that prices generally had risen during the standstill. That I must effectively refute, because it is not true. To take the wholesale prices of manufactured goods—that is the point at which the standstill has bitten—between November and December, the last date to which we have the relevant figures, the index went up by one-tenth of 1 per cent. We all recognise that the food index has moved substantially faster than that—2.6 points between mid-November and mid-December, representing 1.5 per cent—but there was very little that anybody could do about that.

Food as such has not been outside the scope of the standstill. All manufactured food and drink products, which account for more than 60 per cent. of the household expenditure on food and drink, have been subject to the strict requirements of the standstill. They include the staple foods—bread, flour, breakfast cereals, frozen foods, preserves, tea and coffee, and perhaps one should also mention beer. Firms which have sought consent to price increases will testify to the rigorous way in which the Department administering this policy has been vetting the proposals put to it.

My hon. Friends the Members for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen) and Bridgwater (Mr. Tom King) have mentioned Gale's honey. I am sorry that I am not in a position to deal with the details of any particular case, but I undertake to look into this one and either I or one of my hon. Friends will write to my hon. Friends about it.

The prices of manufactured food and drink products will continue to be strictly controlled in phase 2 under the arrangements to be administered by the Price Commission, but in the meantime it is right that the provisions of the Counter-Inflation (Temporary Provisions) Act should continue in force under this order.

The other category of foodstuffs, the fresh, unprocessed foods, including meat, fish, eggs, fruit and vegetables and so on, represent about one-third of consumer expenditure on food and about one-twelfth of the cost of living as a whole. The present Government have not been the only Government to recognise that price fluctuations in this sector cannot be directly controlled.

In the 1965 White Paper "Prices and Incomes Policy: an 'Early Warning' System", Cmnd. 2808, the Labour Government of which the right hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Shore) was later a member said that these arrangements cannot be applied to a number of important commodities, mainly primary products, the prices of which are so largely influenced by short-term market factors". In a later White Paper, Cmnd 3590, "Productivity, Prices and Incomes Policy", of April 1968, the Labour Government freely acknowledged that prior changes due to changes in supply or for other reasons were unavoidable. Right hon. and hon. Members on the Opposition side who have made so much of the movement in food prices in the last couple of months have perhaps taken insufficient account of the same circumstances that applied when they were trying to deal with prices in a similar way. In relation to fresh food prices, the Labour Government said that they mounted a constant watch over them—in other words, they did precious little. On the contrary, we have already instituted controls over the margins of all those concerned with the distribution of fresh and imported foods.

During the standstill period—and this will continue under the extended standstill—the basic requirement is that traders' cash margins must not be increased. In the next stage the control will be by reference to the gross percentage margins, backed up by limitation of profit margins, which goes a great deal further than any previous Administration have tried to go to get the price of food as stable as possible.

The right hon. Member for Stepney mentioned another group of matters which he believed would affect the level of prices generally during the continuation of the standstill. He mentioned the council rents which were due to go up on 29th April under the combined provisions of the Housing Finance Act and the new Bill. I remind the House, however, that the Government have announced an increase of £3.50 in the needs allowance under the scheme for rent rebates or housing allowances which will have the effect of making sure that a man with two children earning £35 per week, living in a council flat and paying the average council rent, will pay no extra rent at all even if he qualifies for the full pay increase to which he will be entitled under phase 2 of the policy.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned rates. It is right to point out first that the Government have increased from 58 per cent. to 60 per cent. for relevant expenditure the amount of expenditure covered by the rate support grant, and that represents very considerable assistance to local authorities. Secondly we are taking powers under the Bill to see that no local authority will make use of revaluation to make rate proposals which are unreasonably much higher than the rate which it declared in the previous year.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned value added tax. Here one must point out that as VAT goes on, so the rest of the selective employment tax and purchase tax will disappear, and we see no reason for any significant overall increase in prices. But again, under the phase 2 Bill, we are taking power effectively to police the changeover from purchase tax and SET to VAT. Indeed the prices part of the standstill is being kept in force specifically to 29th April in order to make sure that during the transitional period prices apart from the change will not move, and the change can therefore be effectively policed. So I reject that part of the right hon. Gentleman's argument which suggested that it would be wrong to extend the standstill, as we believe that it is an essential measure in order effectively to work the transition to phase 2.

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) and others referred particularly to the wages problems of those who had been caught by the standstill. Perhaps it will be helpful if I say how they will be affected during the transition. I take first the settlements which were reached before the standstill came into effect. Those that have been deferred for 90 days or more by 28th February can then be paid in full but without retrospection. Others can be paid when the settlement has been deferred for 90 days after the due date, provided that this is not less than 12 months from the previous settlement, except that none will be deferred beyond the end of the standstill. On that basis the agricultural workers in England and Wales, whose due date is 22nd January 1973, will be entitled to their increase of 20.4 per cent., which is well above the limit in phase 2, on 1st April 1973. The agricultural workers in Scotland whose date was a little earlier—4th December 1972—but less than 12 months after the previous settlement will also get their 18.9 per cent. on 1st April 1973. I could give other examples.

Then there are those whose settlements were reached during the standstill. Those which are in accordance with the policy of stage 2 can be implemented 90 days after their due date or at the end of the standstill, whichever is earlier, and any settlement not in accordance with the policy cannot be implemented until it is renegotiated to conform to the policy. By and large, that is a fair transition from the phase before phase 1, then during phase 1 and then into phase 2.

My hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Dr. Stuttaford) asked about museum charges. I am afraid I have to tell my hon. Friend that I have no further information on that subject that I can give the House.

My hon. Friend also asked about the price of leather. He pointed out that it has a major effect upon the price of shoes. He asked why the price of leather can be controlled whereas the price of carcase meat cannot. One is discussing two different items, of course. The price of leather hides that the shoe manufacturer or leather importer has to pay to his supplier is not controlled. The extent to which the shoe manufacturer may claim a price increase on account of his raw material price is controlled, and manufacturers have been asked so far as possible to absorb increases of prices. Only to the extent that it is impossible for them to do that are they entitled to a price increase for their finished products.

Mr. Biffen

Has a notice of order to that effect been directed to shoe manufacturers?

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

I shall be coming to that in a moment.

The White Paper on stage 1 made it clear that so far as possible firms should seek to absorb costs wherever they could. In this context the large multi-product firms are better able to absorb costs in respect of specific lines. But where small firms are unable to do so, the Department of Trade and Industry takes this into account in dealing with their applications for price increases. The way this has been dealt with, on the whole, is not by orders or notices but by negotiation. There has been a very high degree of willingness to comply with the general terms of the standstill on the part of all firms, large and small. Whether there have been any formal notices issued is a matter that I am not in a position to answer. But I shall find out and write to my hon. Friend.

The hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) referred to Mrs. Munro's report on children's shoes. He asked whether her committee had reported, and he corrected himself subsequently. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer told the House at Question Time the other day that he had received Mrs. Munro's report, that he was giving it full consideration and that an announcement would be made in due course.

The hon. Gentleman also asked about the Weights and Measures Inspectorate and seemed to suggest that the only step open to a weights and measures inspector was to report an infringement to the Attorney-General. He must have misunderstood what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment said earlier today.

Let us take the case of the VAT policing, which is a specific matter in which the Weights and Measures Inspectorate will have a very important rôle to play. If a customer considers that a trader has not repriced his goods fairly or has not reduced a price where appropriate, he will get in touch with his inspector of weights and measures. The inspector will visit the trader and make the necessary inquiries. It may be that the trader will be able to satisfy the inspector that his prices are right, in which case that will be the end of the matter. The inspector may be able to persuade the trader that he should reduce his price. If the trader complies, that is the end of the matter. If the inspector is not satisfied with the position, he will report back to the Minister concerned. If it is the price of purchase tax food, that will be to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. If it is the price of ordinary goods, it will be to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

We are asking for an inspector to be given power to issue notices himself, but we intend that the practice of giving notices should be subject to central coordination and direction to ensure a reasonable degree of uniformity in the way that prices are monitored. It is only if, a notice or an order having been delivered to a firm, a price is not reduced that any question of the Attorney-General arises, because his consent is necessary before there can be a prosecution. So the hon. Gentleman's fear about the Attorney-General's office being flooded with these matters is without substance.

The hon. Member for Walton referred to the situation regarding civil servants. I draw his attention to what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in the debate last Wednesday when he spelt out clearly that he was prepared to see the leaders of the Civil Service associations again and that we had made provision for the ironing out of anomalies in stage 3 but that in the meantime it had always been understood that the application of the Priestley reforms had to be subject to any overriding policy of general national application. I believe that civil servants generally understand that.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater referred to the code. Obviously there is great interest in the code to be published under the phase 2 Bill. He asked that it should be published at the earliest possible stage. He may have heard my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State indicate today that he hoped, but without giving any commitment, that it might be possible for a draft version of the code to be available during the passage of the Bill. In winding up the debate on the Bill tonight my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs indicated that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House would be prepared to allow a full day's debate on the Floor of the House on the draft code in advance of its being laid in the form of an order.

I was interested in what my hon. Friend said about the order being for too short an extension on the ground that the anomalies will multiply as we move into stage 2. It would be difficult to extend this further, even if the Statute gave us power, because the conditions of the standstill and the difficulties which have arisen over fresh food would make it difficult to extend the standstill on pay. Indeed we believe that the measures in phase 2 will create a substantial amount of fairness. I recognise that any statutory policy of this kind is bound to give rise to some unfairness and anomalies, but that is part of the price we must pay if we are to make a real dent in inflationary expectations, and my hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry said that he believed the policy had had this effect already.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Harrogate (Mr. Ramsden) asked about the pensions of civil servants. The staff associations have already been advised that the Government are looking into this matter. I cannot give any undertakings on the outcome of the negotiations, but this is a matter of which we are well seized and it is in hand.

My hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) asked about dividends, in particular about the situation where a company may have had a bad year in what might be called the base year and whether this would necessarily limit the dividend that could be paid in the ensuing year to the 5 per cent.

increase. Paragraph 39 of the appendix to the White Paper on stage 2 contains the sentence: The Treasury will also be prepared to consider such cases as recovery situations, where an earlier account year may be a more suitable basis for comparison, and increased dividend declarations in order to resist an actual takeover bid. I believe that the administration of dividend control by the Treasury—this will stay with the Treasury for the time being—is regarded by those who have had to deal with this matter as being reasonably fair in the circumstances.

I believe that I have answered all the points which have been raised by right hon. and hon. Members. I have not heard anything which leads me to the view that it would be wrong to have this extension for a further 60 days to enable the prices standstill to be maintained to 29th April and the pay standstill to come off on 31st March or on the implementation of stage 2 if that should be earlier. I believe that this policy will help to damp down inflationary expectations. That, after all, is its overriding purpose. In those terms I hope that the House will feel able to give the order a fair wind.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 267, Noes 222.

Division No. 43.] AYES [12.7 a.m.
Adley, Robert Bullus, Sir Eric Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Burden, F. A. Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Emery, Peter
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray&Nairn) Eyre, Reginald
Astor, John Carlisle, Mark Farr, John
Atkins, Humphrey Cary, Sir Robert Fell, Anthony
Awdry, Daniel Channon, Paul Fenner, Mrs. Peggy
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Chapman, Sydney Fidler, Michael
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)
Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord Chichester-Clark, R. Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Churchill, W. S. Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Batsford, Brian Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Fookes, Miss Janet
Bell, Ronald Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Fortescue, Tim
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Cooke, Robert Foster, Sir John
Benyon, W. Coombs, Derek Fowler, Norman
Berry, Hn. Anthony Cooper, A. E. Fox, Marcus
Biffen, John Cordle, John Fry, Peter
Biggs-Davison, John Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D.
Blaker, Peter Costain, A. P. Gardner, Edward
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Critchley, Julian Gibson-Watt, David
Body, Richard Crouch, David Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)
Boscawen, Hn. Robert Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)
Bossom, Sir Clive d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Glyn, Dr. Alan
Bowden, Andrew d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.
Braine, Sir Bernard Dean, Paul Goodhart, Philip
Brewis, John Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Goodhew, Victor
Brinton, Sir Tatton Digby, Simon Wingfield Gorst, John
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Dixon, Piers Gower, Raymond
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Drayson, G. B. Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Bryan, Sir Paul du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Gray, Hamish
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M) Dykes, Hugh Green, Alan
Buck, Antony Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John Grieve, Percy
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) McNair-Wilson, Michael Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Grylls, Michael McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Scott, Nicholas
Gummer, J. Selwyn Madel, David Scott-Hopkins, James
Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Marten, Neil Shelton, William (Clapham)
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Mather, Carol Shersby, Michael
Hannam, John (Exeter) Maude, Angus Sinclair, Sir George
Haselhurst, Alan Mawby, Ray Skeet, T. H. H.
Hastings, Stephen Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Havers, Sir Michael Meyer, Sir Anthony Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Hawkins, Paul Mills, Peter (Torrington) Soref, Harold
Hayhoe, Barney Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Speed, Keith
Hicks, Robert Miscampbell, Norman Spence, John
Higgins, Terence L. Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C. (Aberdeenshire, W) Sproat, Iain
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Stainton Keith
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Moate, Roger Stanbrook, Ivor
Holland, Philip Molyneaux, James
Holt, Miss Mary Money, Ernie Steel, David
Hordern, Peter Monks, Mrs. Connie Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Hornby, Richard Monro, Hector Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Montgomery, Fergus Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Howe, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Morgan Geraint (Denbigh) Stokes, John
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Hunt, John Morrison, Charles Sutcliffe, John
Hutchison, Michael Clark Mudd, Davies Tapsell, Peter
Iremonger, T. L. Murton, Oscar Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Neave, Airey Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
James, David Nicholls, Sir Harmar Tebbit, Norman
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Temple, John M.
Jessel, Toby Normanton, Tom Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Nott, John Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Onslow, Cranley Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Jopling, Michael Osborn, John Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Trew, Peter
Kaberry, Sir Donald Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby) Tugendhat, Christopher
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Page, John (Harrow, W.) Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Kershaw, Anthony Parkinson, Cecil van Straubenzee, W. R.
Kimball, Marcus Peel, Sir John Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Percival, Ian Waddington, David
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Pink, R. Bonner
Kinsey, J. R. Price, David (Eastleigh) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Kitson, Timothy Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Knight, Mrs. Jill Raison, Timothy Walters, Dennis
Knox, David Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Ward, Dame Irene
Lambton, Lord Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Warren, Kenneth
Lamont, Norman Redmond, Robert Wells, John (Maidstone)
Lane, David Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) White, Roger (Gravesend)
Langford-Holt, Sir John Rees-Davies, W. R. Wiggin, Jerry
Le Marchant, Spencer Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Wilkinson, John
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Longden, Sir Gilbert Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Woodnutt, Mark
Loveridge, John Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Worsley, Marcus
Luce, R. N. Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
MacArthur, Ian Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Younger, Hn. George
McCrindle, R. A. Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
McLaren, Martin Rost, Peter TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Russell, Sir Ronald Mr. Bernard Weatherill and
Macmillan, Rt.Hn. Maurice (Farnham) St. John-Stevas, Norman Mr. Walter Clegg.
Abse, Leo Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)
Albu, Austen Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Deakins, Eric
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Cant, R. B. de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Carmichael, Neil Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund
Ashton, Joe Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Doig, Peter
Atkinson, Norman Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Dormand, J. D.
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)
Barnes, Michael Clark, David (Colne Valley) Douglas-Mann, Bruce
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Duffy, A. E. P.
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Cohen, Stanley Dunn, James A.
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Coleman, Donald Dunnett, Jack
Bidwell, Sydney Concannon, J. D. Eadie, Alex
Bishop, E. S. Conlan, Bernard Edelman, Maurice
Blenkinsop, Arthur Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony English, Michael
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Evans, Fred
Booth, Albert Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Faulds, Andrew
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Dalyell, Tam Fisher, Mrs.Doris (B'ham, Ladywood)
Brown, Robert C. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne, W.) Davidson, Arthur Fitch, Alan (Wigan)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Proven) Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)
Brown, Ronald(Shoreditch & F'bury) Davies, Ifor (Gower) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Buchan, Norman Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Foot, Michael
Forrester, John Loughlin, Charles Rhodes, Geoffrey
Fraser, John (Norwood) Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Freeson, Reginald Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Galpern, Sir Myer Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Brc'n&R'dnor)
Garrett, W. E. McBride, Neil Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Gilbert, Dr. John McCartney, Hugh Roper, John
Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) McElhone, Frank Rose, Paul B.
Golding, John McGuire, Michael Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Gourlay, Harry Mackenzie, Gregor Rowlands, Ted
Grant, George (Morpeth) Mackie, John Sandelson, Neville
Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Mackintosh, John P. Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Griffiths, Will (Exchange) McNamara, J. Kevin Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Sillars, James
Hamling, William Marks, Kenneth Silverman, Julius
Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Marquand, David Skinner, Dennis
Hardy, Peter Marsden, F. Small, William
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Marshall, Dr. Edmund Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Mayhew, Christopher Spearing, Nigel
Heffer, Eric S. Meacher, Michael Spriggs, Leslie
Horam, John Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Stallard, A. W.
Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Mendelson, John Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Millan, Bruce Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Huckfield, Leslie Miller, Dr. M. S. Strang, Gavin
Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Milne, Edward Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Molloy, William Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Hunter, Adam Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Tinn, James
Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Torney, Tom
Janner, Greville Moyle, Roland Tuck, Raphael
Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Urwin, T. W.
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Murray, Ronald King Varley, Eric G.
John, Brynmor Oakes, Gordon Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) O'Halloran, Michael Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) O'Malley, Brian Watkins, David
Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Orbach, Maurice Wellbeloved, James
Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Orme, Stanley
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Oswald, Thomas Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) White, James (Glasgow, Pollock)
Kaufman, Gerald Palmer, Arthur Whitehead, Phillip
Kerr, Russell Parker, John (Dagenham) Whitlock, William
Kinnock, Neil Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Lambie, David Pavitt, Laurie Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Lamborn, Harry Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Lamond, James Pendry, Tom Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Lawson, George Perry, Ernest G. Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Leadbitter, Ted Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Woof, Robert
Leonard, Dick Prescott, John
Lestor, Miss Joan Price, William (Rugby) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Mr. Joseph Harper and
Lomas, Kenneth Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Mr. Ernest Armstrong.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That the Counter-Inflation (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972 Extension Order 1973 (S.I., 1973, No. 73), a copy of which was laid before this House on 23rd January, be approved.

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