HC Deb 19 June 1979 vol 968 c1091
1. Mr. John Grant

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many staff now work for the Standing Commission on pay comparability; and what is his estimate of the number of staff who will work for it on 1 January 1980.

The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. James Prior)

The Standing Commission on pay comparability is one of the bodies serviced by the Office of Manpower Economics. There are eight staff at OME engaged solely on the Commission's work. As to its future, the Government intend that the Standing Commission on pay comparability should complete work on its current references and cases where a reference has already been agreed, and will review the position there after.

Mr. Grant

That leaves us with the same state of uncertainty as before. Will the Minister comment on the story on the front page of The Guardian today? Does that signify the first major U-turn by the Government in that they will now try a policy of wage restraint in the private sector as well as the public sector? If that is not the case, will the Minister say how soon the Government will introduce a freeze?

Mr. Prior

I have not read the front page of The Guardian today. Therefore I have some difficulty in answering the hon. Gentleman's question. The policy of the Government is to proceed as at present and not to become engaged in pay policies.

Mr. Harry Ewing

What is the attitude of the Secretary of State to the present work of the comparability Commission? Will he say, for instance, whether the Government will honour what the comparability Commission says about the pay of nurses, Health Service ancillary workers and local authority manual workers?

Mr. Prior

Yes. We have already given that undertaking.

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