HC Deb 15 November 1977 vol 939 cc285-6
Q3. Mr. Wyn Roberts

asked the Prime Minister when he next plans to meet the CBI.

The Prime Minister

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ashley) on 10th November.

Mr. Roberts

No doubt the Prime Minister is studying reports of the proceedings at this week's CBI conference. Does he agree with the general view, expressed yesterday, that the present pay bargaining system is a total failure, in that it has failed to raise living standards in this country and has contributed to inflation, low productivity and high unemployment?

The Prime Minister

I do not know that I am called upon to express a view on the opinions of the Director General, but, whoever expressed such views, it would be unfortunate to dismiss the collective bargaining system that exists until somebody brought forward something that would be both better and acceptable to put in its place.

Mr. Roy Hughes

When the Prime Minister next meets the CBI, will he impress upon it the need for all sections of British industry to use British steel in the manufacture of their products, so that thereby we may avoid in future reports such as those currently appearing in the Press that the BSC is again contemplating making 20,000 steelworkers redundant?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. I shall certainly draw that to the attention of all manufacturers and industrialists who are at present using steel. A very difficult situation has grown up in the steel industry throughout the world, and the Government are giving the matter a great deal of urgent attention.