HC Deb 12 July 1979 vol 970 cc659-60
Q3. Mr. Neubert

asked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for 12 July.

The Prime Minister

This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet. In addition to duties in this House I shall have further meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, including one with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Kurt Waldheim.

Mr. Neubert

Will my right hon. Friend confirm the report in The Guardian today that before the end of the summer the Government plan to introduce a standard of living index? Would not such an index give a much fairer and more accurate assessment of the effects of the Budget on average families? Would it not also demonstrate that the claim made by Moss Evans yesterday, that pay negotiations would need to take the retail price index as the starting point, was bogus and unwarranted?

The Prime Minister

Alongside the present retail price index we are planning to introduce a standard of living index, which will give a much more accurate reflection of the direct tax reductions that have been made. After all, the tax that one pays is the price for education, roads, defence, and so on. When that price goes down, the reduction should be included in the retail price index. Unfortunately, it is not.

Mr. McElhone

Will the Prime Minister find time today to discuss with Scottish Members of Parliament their concern about the dispersal of Civil Service jobs to Scotland? Will she accept that if she reneges on the long-standing promise of two previous Governments there will be a resurgence of nationalism in Scotland, and that the Scottish Tories will suffer most from that?

The Prime Minister

I have received a number of representations on this matter from my Scottish colleagues. The dispersal programme is under review. I have no statement to make about it.

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