HC Deb 03 November 1980 vol 991 cc956-7
27. Mr. Robert Atkins

asked the Paymaster General if he has been satisfied with the effects of Government publicity arrangements during the summer adjournment.

The Paymaster General (Mr. Angus Maude)

Yes. I am satisfied that Ministers have taken every opportunity during the Summer Recess to explain Government policies.

Mr. Atkins

Does my right hon. Friend agree that during the Summer Recess clear evidence became available that the connection between excessive wage settlements and unemployment began to get through to those working on the shop floor?

Mr. Maude

Yes, Sir. There is clear evidence that a number of groups of workers, in the engineering industries especially, understand that excessive wage settlements lead to a loss of jobs. Recent opinion polls also show that a great majority of British workers understand that. I am satisfied that it is due partly to the activity of Ministers in explaining the situation that the change in opinion has come about.

Mr. Skinner

Has the Paymaster General any estimate of how many moles there are in the various Government Departments? If he cannot tell us. will he admit that it is a secret?

Mr. Maude

I do not think that we have as many moles as there are in the Labour Party during the leadership election.

Mr. Marlow

During the Summer Recess my right hon. Friend let it be known through the press that he was about to launch a massive propaganda campaign on the subject of Europe. If he intends to do that, will he restrict himself to the facts about Europe, rather than trying to sell the public an unsaleable product?

Mr. Maude

I did not let anything of the sort be known. The purpose of the Government information service, on this as on all other subjects, is to provide factual information and nothing else.

Mr. Foot

Does the right hon. Gentleman attribute, for example, the enthusiastic support of the CBI for Government policies to the merits of the policies themselves, or to his own brilliance as a publicity monger?

Mr. Maude

Unlike some Governments, this Government do not try to control the opinions or the actions of private industry. The CBI is entitled to its views, and no doubt it will see the light in time.