HC Deb 23 July 1974 vol 877 cc1289-90
Q3. Mr. Hurd

asked the Prime Minister whether the public speech on national unity by the Secretary of State for Trade on 6th July at Plymouth represented the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Hurd

In that speech the Secretary of State spoke of the deep sense of fore- boding in Britain today—and many of us would agree with that. How does the Prime Minister hope to dispel that foreboding when group after group, such as the radiologists, are damaging our schools, hospitals and community services because they have been taught by the Labour Party that bludgeoning the community is the only way in which they can press their case?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Gentleman has no warrant for the statement with which he ended his supplementary question. It is a fact that the transition from stage 1 to stage 2 and stage 3 ossified the economy and created great grievances and anomalies. I understood that the hon. Gentleman supported that policy. As a result there are great difficulties which particularly affect a large number of white collar unions, particularly white collar unions in the public services. They feel, rightly or wrongly, most aggrieved by what has happened in the past. I have never seen a sense of foreboding more dramatically illustrated than in the faces of Opposition Members yesterday.

Mr. Torney

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the problems of radiologists, nurses and others have arisen largely because their wages and conditions of service were neglected during the four years when the Conservative Party was in power? Does he further agree that the hon. Member for Mid-Oxon (Mr. Hurd) seems to have a bad memory of Conservative policy?

The Prime Minister

There is a great deal in the diagnosis presented to the House by my hon. Friend in his supplementary question. As the House is aware, I hope shortly to meet representatives of the principal organisations in the National Health Service, which are concerned about the future of the service, quite apart from wages. This is a problem which has lasted for a number of years and it was reinforced by the decisions of the Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer last December with which we are still contending, but much less was said about those decisions in public comment last December than has been said during the past month.

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