HC Deb 11 March 1976 vol 907 cc621-2
Q4. Mr. Graham

asked the Prime Minister when he last met the TUC.

The Prime Minister

At the meeting of NEDC on 3rd March, Sir.

Mr. Graham

When my right hon. Friend next meets the leaders of the TUC, will he bear in mind that its crucial and welcome support for accepting stricter limits on wages could not have envisaged the increased food prices which resulted from the recent review in Brussels? When the Government next review their policy of food subsidies, will they bear these increases very much in mind?

The Prime Minister

I agree that the support of the TUC and industry generally has been, to use my hon. Friend's words, crucial and welcome in relation to the fight against inflation. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture reported to the House on Monday on the review. I know that there is great feeling on this matter and not only from those who have traditionally opposed our membership of the Common Market. There is concern about what came out of Brussels. My right hon. Friend had a very difficult task, but it is not beyond the wit of the House, with the present facilities for debating European questions, to find an opportunity to debate this matter so that my hon. Friend can put his point at greater length.

Mr. Michael Latham

Will the TUC be told why the February 1974 pound in its pocket is now worth 69 pence?

The Prime Minister

The House debated inflation last year and the Government took action on inflation last year. The Conservative Party did not vote one way or the other.

Mr. Mike Thomas

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that when he last met the TUC leaders, they expressed firm support for the public expenditure proposals which were rejected by the House last night?

The Prime Minister

Yes. They did express their support. Like everybody else, except the Opposition, they have their own views about priorities, but they expressed their views very clearly in their annual economic report, which was published a few weeks ago.

Mr. Lawson

In view of the Prime Minister's satisfaction with the Government's incomes policy, how does he explain what is happening to the pound?

The Prime Minister

I hope to have an opportunity, if I catch your eye later, Mr. Speaker, to refer to that in a rather more considered way than the hon. Member might feel it appropriate to do by way of question and answer.