HC Deb 07 July 1977 vol 934 cc1403-4
5. Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will list his official engagements for 7th July.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Denis Healey)

I have several meetings with my ministerial colleagues during the course of the day. In the afternoon I am answering parliamentary Questions.

Mr. Janner

When my right hon. Friend has a breathing space between answering Questions and meeting his colleagues, will he express to the trade union movement the appreciation of the House for its help in the reduction of inflation by two years of loyal adherence to pay restraint, and will he also indicate to the House what he considers to be the prospects for a future agreement, in view of the conferences of the miners and the transport workers?

Mr. Healey

I never miss an opportunity of expressing the Government's gratitude to the trade union movement for the contribution, to which my hon. and learned Friend rightly points, that it has made to the conquest of inflation in the last two years. On the question of the prospects for the coming year, there are a number of Questions later on the Order Paper, which I shall be answering in the next few minutes.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

Will the right hon. Gentleman find an opportunity today to tell the House and the country what level of pay increases during the next year is consistent with an inflation rate of less than 10 per cent. during the coming 12 months?

Mr. Healey

I have already made that clear in answers to earlier Questions.

Sir J. Langford-Holt

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain how altering inflation from 8 .4 per cent. to over 17 per cent. can be called a reduction, in any language?

Mr. Healey

If the hon. Gentleman is asking a serious question, let me say that he will be well aware that the rate of inflation was halved between the beginning of the first year of phase policy and the beginning of the second year.