§ Question again proposed, That this House do now adjourn.7.52 pm
§ Mr. Austin Mitchell (Grimsby)
I do not intend to begin with a catalogue of the redundancies, closures and increases in unemployment that have hit Grimsby and firms such as Rosses, Laporte and Courtaulds, and the decline of the fishing industry over the past few months. More than 2,000 jobs must be involved, but in a debate such as this the catalogue of job losses and redundancies becomes numbing and I am also filled with anger to see this happening so unnecessarily in my constituency and all over the country.
My anger is exacerbated when I see the Prime Minister reacting with the 578 glycerine tears that Saatchi and Saatchi have thought appropriate to put into her eyes of late, so I had better move straight on to what should be a main object of our discussion, namely, the problems raised by the hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Haselhurst).
The hon. Gentleman's speech was in contrast to so many others from the Government side, who have been either bitterly critical, as was the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton), who spoke for England in a way that he has never done before, though he should have, or have spoken in a sort of Tory code which is praising with faint damns, without making it explicit exactly what they want.
The hon. Member for Saffron Walden tackled a serious problem seriously, and I agree wholeheartedly with what he said about training and the emphasis that should be placed on it before young people go into the job market. However, I question the hon. Gentleman's assumption about the importance of technological, structural or even frictional unemployment. Technological unemployment is obviously more important than it was in the 1950s or 1960s, but it is still only a comparatively small part of the problem and certainly does not explain the massive surge in unemployment that has taken place in the past few months. It is not the basic problem.
The basic problem is simple and explicable in Keynesian terms. It is a deficiency in demand. It is the same problem that faced Keynes in the 1920s. We have rising unemployment, caused by savage blows to demand that have been administered by the Government.
Three sets of policies are to blame. The cuts in spending have obviously had an effect on demand. The set-back to consumer demand and the cutting off of aid to industry have forced industry to borrow to redress the deficiencies in consumer demand that have been generated by the Government. That is the reason for the distress borrowing that is taking place.
The second cause is monetarism. We have called it punk monetarism, and it is an entirely inappropriate policy. First, how does one measure money supply? The definitions of money supply vary. Should we not accept that money is not 579 exogenous but endogenous and that the Government are effectively depressing and deflating the economy by old-fashioned deflationary and depressant approaches in order to fit it to a lower money supply, rather than controlling money supply in order to manage the economy—if that could be done? It could be done only by a Government who were prepared actually to control the money supply. At present the Government are not controlling the money supply but are rationing it, and the rationing of money leads to high interest rates, which exacerbate the depression and lead to all the problems that we have heard about in the debate. Monetarism is a basic cause of what has gone on.
Arising from monetarism, the third and most important cause, which will become increasingly important in the next few months, is the high value of the pound. This has been produced partly by the fact that we are on oil power, but also by the increase in interest rates. A ratchet effect operates here—interest rates are increased, money flows in, the money supply increases and interest rates have to be increased to control the money supply. That ratchet has led to the record level of interest rates and the high value of the pound. That will be the cause of serious difficulties, which are already emerging in our export industries.
The high value of the pound is directly a tax on exports and a subsidy to imports. It is no wonder that, despite our depressed home markets, imports are still flooding in. It will guarantee that there is no way out of the dilemma that the Government have created.
It is interesting to watch the Chancellor of the Exchequer scanning the horizon for signs of hope. In his present state of mind, if the four horsemen of the apocalypse rode past the Treasury windows he would greet them as signs of the new realism. He is looking everywhere for signs of hope, but there is no way out because we are in the same situation as we were in during the 1920s, when we had an overvalued pound, caused by Mr. Churchill's return to the gold standard. Keynes wrote a book entitled "Economic Consequences of Mr. Churchill", and the same volume could be written today about the economic consequences of the Prime Minister's actions.
580 The high value of the pound must make nonsense of the Government's whole strategy. How realistic is it to place the emphasis that the Government are placing on keeping wages down when the value of the pound is nullifying every effort that can be made in that direction? For example, the labour cost in a ton of steel is about 29 per cent. It would need a 50 per cent. increase in productivity to bring down the price of steel by 10 per cent. Yet according to the Treasury's evidence to the Select Committee on the Treasury and Civil Service—and the Treasury is always good at producing figures to prove why it was wrong—our competitive position has deteriorated by 30 per cent. in the past year.
Indeed, if the workers in the paper and board industries, where wage costs must be about 25 per cent. of the price of the final commodity, worked for free, we would still be uncompetitive against the imports from the United States and other countries.
It is impossible to redress this failure of competitiveness produced by the overvaluation of the pound by squeezing labour costs. Indeed, in the past six months the pound has increased in value more than wages have increased here. Since December it has increased by about 12 per cent. Earnings in vehicle manufacturing, for instance, have increased in those six months by 5 per cent. In the economy as a whole they have increased by 11.8 per cent.—less than the increase in the value of the pound.
That is not the whole story. The real exchange rate is up by 17 per cent., because our inflation has been uncorrected by a decline in the value of the pound and because the value of other currencies has been going down relative to the pound. That means that our relative export prices now are 45 per cent. up, because of the lack of movement in the currency over the fourth quarter of 1976, and are 52 per cent. up against the United States. That is in itself a complete explanation of our inadequate competitive position in man-made fibres or plastics compared with those from the United States. It is producing, and will worsen, the disaster for industry.
Each industry as it declines blames different causes. Fishing blames Common 581 Market fishing practices and the lack of aid from the Government; the textile industry blames the multi-fibre arrangement; other industries blame the unions; the man-made fibres industry blames low oil prices in the United States. But in each case the precipice over which the industry is falling is caused by the overvaluation of the currency, and the trench in which they are ending up has been dug by the Government.
In this situation, for the workers to take wage cuts would do no good at all. Financial interests are benefiting from the increased value of the pound. Finance has been the dominant interest in the economy for far too long and has been far too pampered. Wage cuts for the workers would allow financial interests, not the workers, to obtain more benefit from the value of the pound. Indeed, it could be argued that for the workers to take any cut in wages would make the whole position worse, because that would simply encourage a further upward valuation of the pound, which is the basic cause of our problem.
It is only by the workers resisting wage cuts, by demanding their share of the benefits accruing from the increase in the value of the pound, that they can have any influence on the position and have any hope of bringing the pound down. To go along with the Government's strategy now means more unemployment and higher sterling values, and therefore a greater burden on industry.
The high pound means that there is no way out along the Government's chosen path or along the path that the Cabinet "wets", a section of the Conservative Party now transmuted from "Whigs" to "wets", might advocate. It is all like a third-rate re-enactment of "The Caine Mutiny". The difference is that the mutineers lack courage, just as the captain lacks the clicking balls of Captain Queeg. Yet Mrs. Queeg has steered the ship—a rickety ship—straight into the storm. She has thrown the lifeboats overboard and has now seriously damaged the engine.
If the Cabinet "wets" have their way, their solutions are not likely to work either. They suggest bringing interest rates down minimally by, say, 4 per cent. If rates in other countries are still lower, and if, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer 582 pointed out today, there are other factors buoying up the pound as well, the effect on our competitive position will be minimal.
Abolition of the national insurance surcharge has been suggested. There is a strong case for that, but it would not be enough to restore profitability in British industry, given that firms are now running on negative cash flows simply to keep their share of markets, to keep going. That is an experiment that can go on only for so long.
Even an expansion of the Heath type, with the valuation of the pound as it is today, would simply have the effect of sucking in more and more imports. It is the imports of manufactured goods that are causing the problem. Therefore, that way out is also closed.
As for the Government's own proposals, they are locked into a cycle of decline. The Government's only solution seems to be more spending cuts, which exacerbate the difficulties, reduce consumer demand even further, and make the economy even more difficult to manage, locking us into the decline.
There is no way now of stopping unemployment going above 2½ million. The basic answer is to strike at the nub of our difficulties, which is to get the pound down. I see no other solution. It means, first, taking the risk—a massive risk—of expanding the economy and letting that have its normal effect of bringing down the value of the pound. It must be comombined—because we now have North Sea oil to allow us to ride out an expansion of the economy—with a massive reduction in interest rates.
If the Government say that the market controls interest rates, the answer is that the Government must control them. If necessary, they must use the printing press to bring interest rates down. It is the only way to bring interest rates down to the necessary level. [HON. MEMBERS: "What about inflation?"] I shall deal with the inflation argument a little later.
We must charge incoming funds, because it is a useless future for our economy to be the funk hole for the funny money that is rattling around the world—a situation that the Government have created. We must charge incoming funds and impose a withholding tax on 583 revenue from Government securities held by non-residents.
If that does not have the effect of bringing down the pound, the next step must be to print more pounds and sell them overseas to get it down to the desired level. We must have a massive devaluation, bigger than that in the 1920s, because the over-valuation is bigger than the one that ruined the economy then.
I heard mutters that what I had suggested would create inflationary pressures. But is inflation any longer the main enemy? Is not the main enemy the massive and rising unemployment and the danger of destruction of our industry? In any case, the present strategy is inflationary. Every step towards the depression that we are now in has meant an increase in unit costs, an increase that squeezes inflation into the economy.
Therefore, my answer is, first, that as resources must now be 25 per cent. under-employed, an expansion of the economy would bring down unit costs on a massive scale. We are now producing less than we were in 1973, despite massive investment since then. As we have the resources to expand the economy, we can bring down unit costs. Expansion is the only way to do it.
Secondly, if we stay in the Common Market the green pound protects us from the inflationary effects of food price increases. If we come out, we have cheaper food elsewhere. Thirdly, interest rates are a strong inflationary pressure. Under my expansionist strategy, they would come down substantially. Fourthly, the strategy would have to be combined with an incomes policy.
Expansion of the economy and bringing down the pound are now our only hope. The Tory Party has sneered at British industry, at British Leyland, British Steel, the workers, the unions and productivity. After attacking and criticising them for so long, it must now realise that the burden of saving British industry rests on their shoulders. If they do not save it, they are lost, as we all are.
§ 8.8 pm
§ Mr. William Waldegrave (Bristol, West)
It is a pleasure to speak after the hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell), because he let the cat out of the bag. He was honest. He said that 584 the defeat of inflation was not a particularly high priority for him.
I worked for a Government who tried exactly the policy that the hon. Gentleman proposed. They expanded demand as dramatically as the hon. Gentleman suggests. They did everything sought by the people who argue as the hon. Gentleman does now—the CBI of the day, the TUC of the day. The policy was followed through, and it produced nothing but high inflation. It did nothing to the real economy except damage it.
The hon. Gentleman has an honest, coherent policy. It is a policy of disaster, but it is honest and coherent. The right hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) and the hon. Members for Preston, South (Mr. Thorne) and Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) also have a coherent policy—a policy of protection, with reflation at home. I believe that, in the end, to be equally a policy of disastrous inflation.
The right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) finds himself in a greater difficulty. He has too many previous convictions as a conservative with a small "c" Finance Minister to be convincing criticising our policy. He lets his cat out of the bag when he criticises us for being "punk" monetarists. The clear implication is that there is some more grown-up, some previous rock music generation of monetarists of which he is a member. He is a rocker monetarist.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
Or perhaps a Beatle monetarist as my hon. Friend suggests. He merely claims to be a better monetarist, a more grown-up monetarist. That is the basis of his criticism.
I hope that those like the hon. Member for Grimsby who may, for all I know, be canvassing for the right hon. Member for Leeds, East will bear this in mind, because the right hon. Gentleman's policy is not quite theirs. I should have said to the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot), if he had still been present, that, on the basis of the speeches by the right hon. Members for Bristol, South-East and for Leeds, East, his major competitor was on the Government side of the House. My hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) would have swept the Labour Party on the basis of his speech.
585 We have surely learnt that the policy of trying to expand this country out of recession by the creation of inflation does not work. We have not tried it once, twice or even three times. Since the war, we have tried it about five times, and each time the resulting inflation has been higher. Each time the disruption caused in the end produces more damage to the real economy and higher unemployment.
Surely we have learnt from that experience. The structure of our economy—the structure may be different in other countries—with our propensity to import, our propensity to put resources into housing, land and speculative investment rather than real investment and our propensity to suck up any available funds into Government pay and expansion of the public sector makes that an imposible course for us.
Does this, therefore, mean that there is nothing that the Government should now be doing to try to ease the burden on British industry? We may have to wear a hair shirt. Do we have to line it with barbed wire? I think the answer is that we do not. There are some things that the British Government can do to help industry, on the costs side—costs which ultimately derive from Government.
First, there is the effect on industrial costs of what is effectively a power to tax by the great monopoly utilities. It is a power to tax that is not accountable to the House or anyone else. The growing number of complaints from industry about the increases in costs that derive from those monopoly industries must be heeded. I hope that we shall not go down the road of subsidising energy prices—the American road—but I hope that we shall give much greater attention to inventing institutions that may be necessary to bring pressure to bear on price increases brought forward by the monopoly institutions to ensure that they are not simply adding an extra effective taxation cost to industry.
Secondly, there is widespread concern about interest rates, to which many hon. Members have referred. It has been correctly pointed out that when the country goes into recession the British people save more. The savings ratio increases dramatically. This does not 586 happen in all countries. Are we sure that the tax privileges that over the years have been built into various forms of saving in this country—housing and pension funds are the two great examples—are not being paid for by the highest interest rates which have to be paid by the Government to suck out of that pool of saving the funds that they need to finance their programme? These are difficult nettles to grasp. I believe that before long the jungle of tax privileges for various forms of saving will need to be examined. This would help to lower interest costs to industry.
On my third point I hope for the support of my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Patten), who writes learned articles on this subject. Company taxation is now a jungle. We tax our companies in a way that does not make the most powerful and richest companies pay the most. In the same way as we have introduced a jungle of tax incentives for different kind of saving, we have introduced a jungle of allowances into corporation tax which means that there is an incentive to manage one's business badly and to hold more stocks than one needs. This means that the take from corporation tax is declining and that the effective taxation on companies comes from poll taxes, employment taxes, the national insurance surcharge and so forth which hits equally all companies including the weakest. We tax employment, and not real profitability. This is a complex and difficult subject. I hope, however, that in the next Finance Bill the Government will bring forward ideas to help.
There are things that the Government can do to help on the costs side of industry. It is right at a time of high inflation to have a conservative Treasury, but there are other Departments in the Government besides the Treasury. We sometimes look as though we think that we need no other Department but that conservative Treasury.
My final point takes up a matter mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Haselhurst). My hon. Friend doubted that the unemployment that we are experiencing as a result of the attempt to stop inflation was temporary. I believe that it is inherent in the Government's attempt to bring inflation under control, and indeed in any 587 attempt to bring inflation under control, that there will be a temporary and transitional increase in unemployment. There is evidence to support this from the past.
In 1919 in this country, for example, we briefly had a period of hyper-inflation. The most dramatic occasion was in Germany in 1923. Since it is the Government's case that inherent in this policy there is transitional unemployment, it is as much as to say that it is not the fault of those who are unemployed that they are unemployed. It is to say that the adjustments that are necessary to change an economy that has been based on inflation to an economy that is not so based will involve many hard adjustments, for example, in industries which have relied on a declining pound to hide increases in their costs at home. Many financial institutions, for example. have perhaps lived oft and on inflation. Employment will shift from those companies and those institutions.
If the Government are right, unemployment is transitional. If it is transitional, it it not the fault of those people who have, as it were, shouldered the burdens and the sins that their fathers for a generation, in Governments of both parties, who have built inflation into the system have laid upon them. If that is so, it behoves this Goverment, or any Government undertaking the task of stopping inflation, to protect those people. That is a duty that falls on the Government perhaps as their principal duty. In my book, it is their first duty, precedent even to the duty to increase defence expenditure in line with commitments to NATO.
The Government should not be too scared of this obligation, even though it may be expensive in the short term, because it is temporary and transitional. If it is not temporary and transitional, and if the whole basis of Government policy is wrong, or if the Government abandon their course half way through, and turn to the unemployed and say "We were wrong; we will adopt another policy", it will behove them to have looked after those people who will have suffered from what they will then be saying was a mistaken policy. It behoves the Government to direct major resources to the protection of those people. If we do not do that, wounds may be left in the unity of the country which it may take many generations to heal.
§ Mr. John Golding (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Half a million is the number who are expected to be long-term unemployed by 1981–82. Half a million is the number of teenagers without regular work at present seeking permanent employment. In these two groups we have the hardest-hit casualties of the present depression. The problem of long-term unemployment is very grave. For the individual to be unemployed for two or three weeks is not a social disaster. To be unemployed for 12 months or more is a great personal family tragedy.
As a member of the Select Committee on employment going round the country talking to the long-term unemployed, I can only feel depressed after listening to the personal histories of those who have been unemployed for so long. Many people are distressed at being rejected for one job after another. They have to face the humiliation of being turned down. Many employers reject the long-term unemployed. Why? Their argument is that, if a man has been unemployed for a long time, he is no good. It is a vicious circle. People have no job because they have no job.
Prejudice by employers is not the only problem for the long-term unemployed. They have to face prejudice on the council estates and in the terraced streets. The prejudice is that if someone is unemployed he is a scrounger and a layabout. I have spoken to one person after another whose major fear is of being branded as a layabout and a scrounger when he is desperately seeking work.
The Employment Committee's first report on the Manpower Services Commission's corporate plan stated that the MSC's priorities were:'safeguarding the provision of skilled manpower for industry's needs; providing training and work experience for young people, and specifically maintaining the Youth Opportunities Programme; completing the modernisation of the employment service".The report stated firmly, categorically and unanimously:We consider, however, that providing training and work experience for the long-term unemployed should also be a principal objective. Indeed, we believe it to be more important than modernising the employment service.I regret that the Government's response to our report is not positive. If one interprets the Civil Service gobbledegook in 589 which the response is written, the Government say that there is no greater priority for the long-term unemployed and that modernisation of the employment service comes first.
Luckily, the response from the Manpower Services Commission is more favourable. The commission states:The MSC shares the Committee's concern on behalf of the long-term unemployed, and has consistently drawn attention to their plight. Indeed, at the hearing of the Committee on 2 July, the Director of Special Programmes emphasised the MSC view when he stated that the current size of the Special Temporary Employment Programme (12,000–14,000 filled places) was insignificant in relation to both the current problem (around a third of a million adults unemployed for 12 months or more) and projected levels. The MSC is hopeful that any new measures introduced by the Government to help the unemployed will allow some room for expansion over present STEP provision.Some room is not enough. It is rumoured that the Government intend to increase the special temporary employment programme from 12,000 to 30,000 filled places. That will not be enough. Half a million people are on the long-term unemployment list. Thirty thousand places is not enough. The juxtaposition of the two figures tells its own story. We must do more for the long-term unemployed.
No Government can bring us back to full employment overnight. The Labour Government could reduce unemployment but not bring us back to full employment. The people who have been unemployed the longest are likely to have to wait the longest for a job. That is the bitterness of their position. It is the result of the logic used by employers. There must be a massive expansion of the special temporary employment programme.
The Government should make the special temporary employment programme and the youth opportunities programme permanent. It is important to underwrite their permanency. Last year £7 million was underspent on coping with the longterm unemployed. That was because the staff and employers were uncertain about the scheme.
The scheme should be made nationwide. It was criminal of the Government to withdraw STEP from most of the country. It was a blunder to concentrate on the areas of high unemployment. In 590 my area, unemployment has doubled in the last year and yet there are no opportunities for the long-term unemployed or for the 19-year-olds to 21-year-olds.
In order to make the STEP scheme a success, we must increase grants to sponsors. Local authorities and voluntary bodies do not have the wherewithal to sponsor the schemes. We cannot rely on the local authorities and voluntary bodies alone. We must ensure that private employers are involved in sponsoring schemes under the STEP scheme. That means removing the rule under which they cannot sponsor if there is an element of private profit involved.
The Labour Government made it possible to renovate sports facilities for the Rugby League, and that was beneficial. We must persuade the trade unions to support the STEP scheme and the youth opportunities programme. We must say loud and clear that opposing the schemes to help the long-term unemployed is not the way to oppose the Government. If the trade unions do not co-operate in supporting the special measures, they will damage their friends and colleagues. They will hurt the unemployed, but not the Government.
The Select Committee was impressed with the youth opportunities programme, but saw a need for expansion. I have read of the Government's intention to introduce a new scheme for 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds who have been unemployed for three months or more. I hope that the Secretary of State will be able to announce that soon. It will be a step in the right direction—that is, towards the comprehensive scheme for the 16 and 17-year-olds. But to be successful the Government will have to meet certain other conditions. The Secretary of State must resist the staffing cuts that the Treasury is seeking to impose. It is impossible for the special programmes division staff and the careers service, in the face of massive increases in unemployment, to cope with a diminution of opportunities in industry and, at the same time, with cuts in staffing. There should be an exemption from staff cuts for those who are dealing with unemployment in the front line.
Additional staffing is needed to improve the quality of the youth opportunities programme. Increased staffing is needed to cut the delays between the time when 591 employers notify the existence of opportunities and the time when the special programmes division and the careers service can respond.
The Secretary of State could help the careers service more. He could write to the local authorities to tell them that there should be no cuts in staffing. He could give the careers service the reassurance that there is no intention of depriving it of its traditional roles.
There is another problem to be tackled in respect of the youth opportunities programme. It is estimated at present that one-third of the places are being taken up by employers who would otherwise have recruited youngsters. Employers are beginning increasingly to recruit people off a scheme rather than take on youngsters on a regular basis. That must be tackled very quickly.
It is apparent to me that the Government will be unable massively to expand the youth opportunities programme unless they are able to persuade the public corporations and the big firms to give more support. The programme has been heavily dependent upon small and medium-sized firms—the firms that are smashed out of existence by the depression, or firms in which the managements are too preoccupied to be able to support the programme.
One other disturbing aspect of the youth opportunities programme is that the number of youngsters leaving the schemes and getting regular jobs is falling fast. The Government must consider reintroducing financial incentives to employers to get youngsters into regular work. That must be done either through a direct subsidy, or through exemption from the payment of national insurance. The way in which the Government have watched the number of apprentice places fall without taking adequate action is shameful. The Government must follow the Institute of Careers Officers and determine that they will sponsor all available apprentice places.
I have spoken tonight for the unemployed. It is possible for the Government to do substantially more to stop the rot in morale that is occurring among the long-term unemployed and youth.
§ Mr. Donald Thompson (Sowerby)
I shall not attempt to pursue the issues 592 raised by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding), since he is clearly an expert in these matters. He knows, however, that all our lives at least 300,000 people have been unemployed, and I do not believe that that figure can ever again be fewer than 500,000, in spite of the rate at which new jobs are being created every year. Many of those new jobs—at least 1 million in the past 10 years—have been taken up by women.
In my constituency there is a milt called Mons. It is a topical name at this time of the year. I noticed that the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) was wearing his remembrance poppy. Next week as I walk across to my office in Dean's Yard I shall see the poppies being laid out for regiments long gone.
The Mons mill was named after the lads from Sowerby who were killed in the First World War. I am reminded of the fervour with which those men from Sowerby went to fight, a fervour, I imagine, very much like the enthusiasm among small business men last year when we were elected to Government. At last, they thought, they had a leader who would fight the twin evils of inflation and Socialism. They knew that the battleground would be the manufacturing areas of Britain. They knew that they would be the infantry. They thought that many would be hurt, that firms would be wounded and that many jobs would be lost for ever. It was almost a religious fervour—" Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour" sort of thing. Eighteen months later the battlefield is strewn with the unemployed and the corpses of firms large and small. Almost every firm in my constituency has been wounded in the fight against inflation.
The firms that are dead are gone for ever. Firms that traded for generations are lost for ever. The jobs that they provided have been mown down by cheap imports. There has been no time to mourn their loss. Every day the local newspapers are filled with redundancies, in the same way as long casualty lists once appeared. But, although the Opposition will not believe it, there is still a determination to fight on. The troops in the front line are angry that we did not keep the promise to lift from their backs the paraphernalia of employment legisla- 593 tion, health and safety at work legislation, VAT returns, tax supplements, innumerable inspectors, and the junk that is strapped firmly on to the backs of small businesses—all of which must be in parade ground order and ready for inspection even in these dire times. The poor b … infantry are angry because they see profiteers, black marketeers and spurious conscientious objectors avoiding unemployment.
The profiteers are the public bodies that are unwilling to sacrifice one job. There is no discomfort for them, no jobs are lost, there is no flexibility and there is no attempt to realise the effects of inflation. They simply pass on inflated prices with a percentage profit, while ensuring that they are first in if a firm goes bust. The Post Office, electricity and gas boards and other public bodies sneer at the Government, while blaming them for their inability to contribute to the efforts of the manufacturing sector of industry to reduce inflation.
Like all black marketeers, the nationalised industries have a front of respectability, but live on the fat of the land. Manufacturing industry in my constituency is incensed that nationalised industries prefer to go abroad to buy their machinery than to buy it in Yorkshire. They appear to prefer a week in Italy to two days in Yorkshire doing what they should be doing. Employees in nationalised industries have been spared redundancy because they have been cushioned with huge pensions of lordly sums. They are shielded with aid that should have gone to where the real action is taking place and where the profits are being made.
The nationalised industries are too busy looking after themselves to care about the effect of their policies on employment in the private sector. They are too selfish to close the inefficient pits in Scotland and Wales that would make energy costs viable. They are too selfish to close the naval dockyards that should be closed. The railways are too selfish to adopt manning levels that would make them competitive and comparable with private industry. The bosses dare not do that, because the men would mutiny. The national interest is not high on the list of priorities of nationalised industries. They are interested only in coming out 594 on top. That is not difficult, because private industry, despite its difficulties, is still carrying nationalised industry on its back, year after year.
What about the spurious conscientious objectors—those who think that inflation is not their concern? They do not want to be touched. The local authorities and the Health Service say "Hands off". Those who push the old, the infirm and the sick into the front line, as NUPE and NALGO did last winter, must have an inflated idea of their own importance. They must think that they are very special. They are not willing to implement any policies that will affect unemployment at all. They are interested only in their own little world. Therefore, the whole burden of unemployment seems to fall on that part of the country that should be manufacturing our way out of our difficulties.
Manufacturing industry knows that inflation must be beaten before employment can rise, but at present it seems to most men and women in Sowerby—employers and employees—that they constitute the only army fighting—the forgotten private army of private industry. By next year that army will have disappeared unless the Government can persuade the nationalised industries, the public bodies and local government to play their part.
§ Mr. Ernie Ross (Dundee, West)
There are two root causes of our current level of unemployment. One is undoubtedly the massive slump in the capitalist world, with more than 154 million people out of work and all the associated waste of talent, effort and revenue involved in that number. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) clearly laid out the strategy that the Government could follow if they were interested in saving Britain.
I leave that matter aside and deal with the second cause. This was clearly espoused by the hon. Member for Sowerby (Mr. Thompson), and relates to the determination of the Conservative Party to use the slump to make working people pay for the crisis and to restore profit margins in order to return to the sort of society that existed in the early 1930s.
There are two obstacles confronting the Government that must be dealt with. The 595 first is the level of public expenditure, brought into being in order to attempt to create a fair society. Many hon. Members have quoted Harold Macmillan, but even he, in his book "The Middle Way", in 1939, called for a planned economy in order to eliminate unemployment for ever. That is well to the Left of the 1979 Labour Party election manifesto on which I was elected to the House.
Harold Macmillan clearly understood that public expenditure under all Governments contributes to the enjoyment of higher living standards. It also helps to finance the Welfare State. That is now to be cut back, because to the Conservative Party it is an obstacle to the restoration of profit margins and the kind of society to which it is committed.
The second obstacle to the Prime Minister's declared objectives is the trade union movement, because, organised under legislation provided by successive Parliaments, it protects working people from the sort of injustices that they suffer in areas where trade unionism is weak or non-existent. We have only to look at the wages and conditions enjoyed by the catering trade, or at any of the areas of sweated labour, particularly those in which there is a high immigrant population and where trade unions are nonexistent, to realise that such wages are a disgrace to a civilised society. Therefore, the Conservative Party takes the view that the alleged power of the trade union movement must be broken if profits are to be maintained.
The Government have adopted three methods of tackling that problem. The first is to raise unemployment by their policies and to blame high wage increases for that rise. It must be obvious to anyone who has bothered to read a newspaper or listen to a news item on the radio or television that the Tories would blame unemployment on the lazy, unproductive workers who, as far as they are concerned, consistently bargain unrealistically for high wage settlements. Their idea of "high" is 9.6 per cent., "unrealistic" 14 per cent., and even the 2 per cent. offered to British Steel workers had massive redundancies tagged on to it.
The main argument used by the Conservative Party in support of wage restraint is that the alternative is mass unemployment. But the facts indicate the 596 opposite. The record shows that unemployment has grown through periods of wage restraint. Significantly, the first time that the figure of 1 million unemployed was reached since the 1930s was in 1961, and that coincided with Selwyn Lloyd's wage pause.
The first significant drop in unemployment since 1966, estimated at approximately 150,000, coincided with a breakthrough in wages following the victories of the miners, railwaymen and shipbuilding workers. It was the increase in earnings in 1972–73 of about 16 per cent., as against an inflation rate of 10 per cent., that boosted real take-home pay, in conjunction with the extra spending power made available by the previous Budget, that helped to create economic expansion and a drop in unemployment. The rocketing unemployment in the 1970s took place in a period of almost continuous wage restraint—engineered, I have to admit, under both a Labour and a Conservative Government.
The second part of the Government's strategy is to legislate to break the established power of the trade unions and to make organisation as difficult as possible—if not impossible. It is not unexpected that with the return of a Conservative Government the trade union question is again at the centre of the political stage. But to suggest, as some Conservative Members have suggested today, that trade unions now have the whip hand and that employers are hemmed in by a combination of trade union power and legal restrictions is to stand reality on its head. The old power relationship still exists. Employers hire and fire, they increase prices, particularly after wage settlements, they reduce output through lack of investment, they sell up assets, and they invest overseas to exploit cheaper and badly organised labour. To suggest that employers cannot run their businesses in order to meet their shareholders' aspirations because of trade union power and pressure is to fly in the face of reality and completely to misread the balance of power in British society.
The Government's Employment Act is wrong in principle and it is largely unworkable in practice. Unless the Government are forced by a Labour movement to come to their senses, we shall have a recipe for industrial chaos.
597 The third part of the strategy pursued by the Government is that mass propaganda poured out by Fleet Street, the BBC and ITN, which daily fail in their charter obligations to give a balanced view of the efforts of working people as against those of capital. In no way is that better exemplified than in the Cobden Trust lecture given by Professor Stuart Hall, when he clearly outlined the misuse of the media.
The Government have argued that the Labour Party has offered nothing. The city of Dundee, controlled by a Labour district council, organised a conference last Thursday to which they invited Members of Parliament, business men, union officials, bankers, academics and councillors from district and regional authorities. They put forward constructive proposals to help the city of Dundee. We do not expect from the Government a continual attack on the trade union movement and workers determined to restore the value of their earnings. We expect a response of the type shown by the Dundee district council. I hope that we get that sort of response tonight when the Secretary of State replies to the debate.
§ Mr. Richard Needham (Chippenham)
I should like to comment on the problems of youth unemployment. I have listened without success for contributions from Labour Members, with the exception of the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding), for practical suggestions on the horrific problems of youth unemployment. Perhaps the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) will give us some practical suggestions about youth unemployment—although, looking at his record, we shall probably get more flights of rhetoric than anything that will help.
Perhaps one of the reasons why one does not get much basic assistance in practical ways in helping young people is that the paymasters of the Labour Party have shown years and years of intransigence when it comes to dealing with the problems of young people. If Opposition Members do not believe that to be true, why is it that youth unemployment continued to grow, year in and year out, when they were in power, regardless 598 of the ad hoc measures that they have introduced?
I am not blaming only the unions for this problem, and it is not me alone who has that view. In an article in The Observer on Sunday, a Mr. More, a Birmingham polytechnic lecturer, said how angry he was at the "lack of concern" shown by most trade unions for the unemployed:In one case of imminent local redundancies, the union refused to have anything to do with a project on the ground that to think positively about what might happen to the victims of a closure was somehow to encourage that closure. Historically trade unions have only cared for those in work.I do not think that any fair-minded judge of the situation could deny that to be a truth. One has only to look at the 1930s to appreciate the disgraceful way in which trade unions treated the unemployed.
In terms of young people, equally there is considerable short-sightedness on the part of many employers, who, as soon as hard times come, cut back on their training and apprenticeship schemes, with the result that as soon as an upturn in the economy comes they find that they do not have enough young people sufficiently trained.
On the Government's part, there has been a lack of imagination and flair going back many years in the design of schemes for young unemployed people. It has all been done on an ad hoc basis in the belief that sooner or later, and with wishful thinking, the economy would look up and the problem would go away. In fact, the problem is deep rooted and is likely to be with us for a very long time.
There is some way out of this if only there were good will and a real determination on all sides to get to the basis of the problem. Why cannot young people of 16, 17 and 18 be taken out of collective bargaining structure which, has meant that their basic wage rates have made them unemployable in many instances and unattractive to so many employers? Why cannot we introduce, as other countries have, a national youth allowance which would mean that young people of 16 to 18, when they come out of school, could go into apprenticeships—which in this country are a disgrace; they should be expanded—and could provide many more roles 599 in our society for young people than they do now instead of the very narrow apprenticeship schemes which currently exist with union backing? There needs to be an incentive for a youngster to go into an apprenticeship instead of seeking a job which gives him no skills at a higher wage. If he can get into a apprenticeship, at the end of three years he will have a skill which can take him through many years of his life.
That should be the start. It does not need to cost the country any more money than it spends now. If young people cannot go into normally paid jobs, negotiated at union rates, and instead go into apprenticeship schemes which start, say, for the 16-year-olds at £35 a week, and then go to £45 and £55, that will allow them to go into full-time work at the age of 18, the same can apply to those who want apprenticeships and cannot find them. They can also, through Government assistance, through an expanded youth opportunities programme, start on a sliding scale at, say, £23—or even less, £20—at 16, £30 at 17, and £40 at 18, to learn skills and trades which they do not have now.
That is the sort of scheme which, if the Government could sit down with the TUC, the CBI and other interested employers, could start to make a dent in the horrific problems facing young people. Once again, young people would become attractive to employers to take on.
Of course, the unions would have to make an input. There would have to be safeguards against people taking on youngsters and using them as cheap labour or as a way of stopping others coming into work. However, having said that, where there is a will, there must be a way.
If my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State looks into such a scheme and gets together with the TUC and CBI, they will find that there must be a community of interest. Everyone in the country must realise that taking young people off the streets and giving them training and jobs is in everyone's interests. I hope that my right hon. Friend will consider this scheme. I hope that he will talk about it and act upon it to ensure that young people have a practical opportunity in life that is currently denied them.
§ Mr. Jack Dormand (Easington)
I welcome the opportunity to make a few remarks. In view of the time, I shall not comment on the national position, but will confine myself to three quick references to the Northern region.
It might have escaped the notice of some hon. Members that not one Tory Member from the Northern region has been present during the debate. That is a scandal. If their absence has escaped the notice of some hon. Members, it will not escape the notice of those in the Northern region. It means either that they are satisfied with the Government's policies, or that they are so complacent that they think that they need not attend. I suspect that they are political cowards. They are afraid to take part in the debate. We are talking about the region that has the highest number of unemployed in the country. I regret to say that that has always been the position, even from prewar days. I hope that the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary of State will take some notice, even if their hon. Friends from the Northern region are not present.
Last year the Secretary of State for Industry told us about his new regional policy. The nub of that policy was that the money available under the development grant system would be concentrated in the area where it was most needed. That meant that many areas in the Northern region had their status from that of special development areas. That policy has been a complete failure. It is all right in theory, but it is one of the ideas that emanated from the ivory tower in Victoria Street. It has led to a complete lack of business confidence in the Northern region. We have a devastated region in an area that has the best industrial relations in the country.
Secondly, I draw the attention of the House once again to the need in the Northern region for a Northern development agency. I and my Northern colleagues do not expect that such an organisation would work miracles, but we say that there is a great need for it. I hope that Ministers will listen to my remarks. They pay fleeting visits to the region to keep the natives quiet. I say to them in all straightforwardness that the people of the region regard their visits as examples of condescension. They come to the region 601 for an hour or two, but no action results. I hope that they will take some notice of what is said in the debate by Northern Members.
The Secretary of State for Industry has, I am delighted to say, changed his mind from saying last year that there was no possibility of a development agency, to saying that he is now prepared to consider it. He is paying us the courtesy of meeting some of my hon. Friends and myself to discuss the matter. I hope that the issue will be borne in mind and that it will make a contribution to reducing unemployment in the region.
The Government have now received the Rayner report, part of which relates to Department of the Environment and Ministry of Transport offices in the Northern region. The proposal is to take them to Leeds. That is unacceptable. It means a loss of 200 jobs and a lack of communication. That is an example of how the Government regard the Northern region. Do they think that Leeds is in the region? I hope that they will have second thoughts.
I hope also that the Government will pay more attention to the coal industry, as it is one of the main employers in the Northern region. The Coal Industry Act was enacted just before the recess, but it gave help neither to the country nor to the Northern region. The Government have placed a financial straitjacket on the mining industry, which could quickly lead to high unemployment in the industry. My area has the most reasonable men. The area is strike free, and the men are willing to co-operate with the National Coal Board and the Government as long as those bodies do the right things. I hope that the Secretary of State will pay particular attention to the needs of the coal industry.
§ 9 pm
§ Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)
If the Opposition had had their way, this debate would have occurred last month, when the figures for unemployment were announced. At that time, we wrote to the Prime Minister and asked for Parliament to be recalled in order to discuss the unemployment figures. The right hon. Lady the Prime Minister replied to my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) suggesting 602 that there had not been any fresh developments since the unemployment debate in July, and that it was not necessary to recall Parliament.
In our view, the figures published in September and the more recently published figures, together with other events to which hon. Members in all parties have referred, indicate that the country is slithering into an industrial and economic disaster of greater dimensions than we have seen for a long time. We have not had to face a disaster of such dimensions since the end of the war, and that is why the House should show special determination and devise special means by which we can more frequently discuss the unemployment situation.
Unemployment debates, in one form or another, should take place every month, when the figures are announced. My hon. Friends would then be able to develop their views about different parts of the country. My hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Dormand) and other of my hon. Friends can speak with expert knowledge on the subject. The unemployment crisis facing the country is so critical that the House of Commons should resolve to have a major debate on unemployment every month. That was the origin of our request to the Prime Minister, and we repeat it tonight.
I have listened to most of the debate. Speeches from hon. Members on both sides of the House have illustrated clearly, and in a variety of ways, that the economic crisis is serious. Whatever test one chooses to apply, whether that of the scale of the problem or that of the novelty of the problem, we face a more serious economic crisis than we have faced since 1945. In the past, it has been the stock-in-trade of Ministers to point out that unemployment increased under the Labour Government. I do not blame them for saying that. They imply that the problems and the solutions are much the same now as they were then.
We face a very different state of affairs. We cannot deny that unemployment rose under a Labour Government. We cannot deny that it rose steeply. We undertook a series of measures to deal with it, and we had begun to bring down the unemployment rate. If the Conservatives were able to show similar figures over the past six or eight months to those we were able to show during our last year in office. they 603 would have something to shout about. They would claim that such figures represented the height of statesmanship and achievement. But of course they cannot say anything of the sort. I hope that the House will not try to disguise the fact that the nature of the unemployment that is affecting every part of the country is much fiercer than anything we have had for a long time.
I am sorry that the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) is not here because he emphasised this point in his broadcast yesterday. It is not only the old industries that are being affected. The Prime Minister sometimes talks as if it is just a question of accommodating the decline in the old industries. But that is not so. The young industries are being hit in this recession in the same way as the old In my constituency it is not just a question of the steel industry being in great difficulties or that workers are on short time; new industries are suffering as well. These industries were brought into the area and they are now feeling the effects as much as the old. They are hit by a combination of international events and Government policies to such a degree that it is thought that the only business at present is money lending. That is what the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham said. and I believe that that is generally true.
The situation is deteriorating much faster than anyone had previously assumed. Also, the prospects are grim. This coming winter will be a winter of fear and desolation for our people. Those are not just my views. They are the views of the CBI. It says:We are now in a much more serious recession than that experienced in 1974–75. We would have to go back to before the war to find industry in comparable difficulties … Have we got to go through the next three or four years destroying great tracts of British industry to convince the world that sterling is overvalued?".These are the sorts of statements that come from the CBI. When the latest report from the CBI reads rather like the front page of the Tribune, perhaps we are moving very fast. I got the impression from many of the speeches of Conservative Members, such as that of the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton), that the only people in the country who 604 did not really know what was going on were those in the Cabinet—or perhaps I should be more generous and say halt those in the Cabinet.
I gather that the Prime Minister is not so much impressed by these events because she insists that the policy will not he changed. The lady is not for turning. [HON. MEMBERS: "Burning."] No, let us not have any misquotation. The lady is not for turning. I suppose that we have to change the old adage—if mother does not turn, none of us will turn. Is that the message that we are sending out from this House today? I do not believe that that is the case. I think that the Cabinet is in a slightly different mood from that.
We read in the newspapers that the Cabinet is to discuss these matters and possibly some aspects of public expenditure cuts tomorrow. I should like to intrude into that meeting, if I may, and offer my assistance to those sections of the Cabinet that deserve it.
The Secretary of State for Employment is sometimes represented as a good man who fell among monetarists. I would not go as far as that. I shall come back to him in a moment. At any rate, I am chalking him up on my slate as one of the good ones.
Now let us look at the others. The situation has changed in the last few weeks. The Secretary of State for Defence—I do not know whether he is here—is a formidable member of the Cabinet. He gets almost as big ovations at Tory conferences as the Prime Minister—and we know that is no accident. The right hon. Gentleman has a powerful voice in the Cabinet. If he were to turn himself into the field marshal for the wets, that would cause quite an event, because some of the others might pluck up their courage, too. That is two of them.
Where is the Lord Privy Seal, the philosopher Tory—as H. G. Wells said, like military intelligence, a contradiction in terms? His contempt for Tory policy is so determined that they all know it. That is three.
Now there is the Leader of the House. We are told that at a fringe meeting at Brighton the Leader of the House came out in his true colours. We can imagine 605 what a gaudy performance that would have been.
Now let us look at some of the others. Where is the Secretary of State for Scotland? He must know what is going on, so we count him on that side.
What about the Secretary of State for Wales? Which side is he on? Maybe they do not count him.
Where is the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food? We have always counted on him. The Minister of Agriculture—I am very friendly with him; he has my old driver, and that is my trouble—[Interruption.] I shall soon get one back. The Minister of Agriculture takes the same precaution as his right hon. Friend the Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath): he does not turn up at these debates. He finds it easier to vote for them if he does not have to listen to them. The right hon. Gentleman—[An HON. MEMBER: "Where is he?"] I shall tell the House where he is and what will happen. Tomorrow there will be a pious public relations office notice issued by the Ministry of Agriculture saying that, of course, the Minister of Agriculture was in the House of Commons but he was in his room working on his papers. I bet that is not what he is doing. The right hon. Gentleman is upstairs saying that he does not believe in this monetarist malarky any more than we do. So we count him on our side; he is one of us. I am sure that the Secretary of State for Employment will confirm that.
What about the others? If the Lord Privy Seal is one of the wets, we ought to be able——
§ Mr. Foot
I shall come to the hon. Lady in a moment. I shall get her promoted in a moment if she will listen.
The Foreign Secretary is an influential chap. I dare say that he is a bit persuaded by the Lord Privy Seal. In passing, there was a report the other day that one of the public expenditure cuts to be imposed tomorrow is a cut in the British Council.
The greatest possession of this country—more valuable than North Sea oil—is the English language, which is becom- 606 ing the language of the world. At such a moment this penny-pinching Government are about to injure the processes whereby people throughout the world can acquire the right and capacity to speak English. However, I believe that the Foreign Secretary can be persuaded on to the side of enlightenment in the discussions tomorrow.
Whom does that leave? Where is the Home Secretary, the long-playing vice-captain? I suppose that we can add him to the list. I have a card here. I should like to add up the figures. It is a very close thing indeed. However, maybe that is another kind of election. I shall leave that for the moment. At any rate, it is very close indeed. We have a good chance of winning.
I am sorry that the Home Secretary is not here, because I should much rather say this to his face. He may consider that these financial questions are a bit beyond him now. If he has to listen to the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the peak of his form, as he was today, I am not surprised that he does. I have noted the right hon. and learned Gentleman's words carefully. He says that the high rate of the pound is not an objective of policy. Can he tell us whether anything that is happening in the country at present is an objective of policy? Unemployment has not been created on purpose. What about inflation? The Government are conquering inflation, but we should not know that if they did not tell us so. The right hon. Lady will not answer this question tonight, but perhaps she can think up an answer for tomorrow. How long does she believe it will be before she gets the inflation rate down to what it was before she started putting it up? I do not know whether the Government have an answer to that question.
The seriousness of the situation is that the Government, I believe, want to apply their minds to the problem. The Cabinet tomorrow will be quite a serious affair. I hope that I have contributed a little to its understanding. I hope that there will be people there to speak for Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Merseyside, the North-East, the Midlands, London and Lancashire—to speak for Britain, for all the places that need a voice to speak for them.
The only people who seriously believe in the policy that the Government are 607 pursuing is the diminishing little band headed by the right hon. Lady. I sometimes feel that, when the right hon. Lady stands on the burning deck all alone at the end, the only person who will be supporting her will be the Minister for Social Security. I have warned the right hon. Lady before. Does she not realise that we have put him here as an agent provocateur in order to test what damn fool statements can be made in Tory Governments? I warn the right hon. Lady that she needs a few better companions around her if she wants to deal with unemployment.
I realise that I have discriminated in favour of the wets. I have revealed to the House quite openly, as I would normally do, who are my favourites, but I should not like to miss out the Secretary of State for Industry, who has had a tremendous effect on the Government and our politics generally. As I see the right hon. Gentleman walking around the country, looking puzzled, forlorn and wondering what has happened, I try to remember what he reminds me of. The other day I hit on it.
In my youth, quite a time ago, when I lived in Plymouth, every Saturday night I used to go to the Palace theatre. My favourite act was a magician-conjuror who used to have sitting at the back of the audience a man dressed as a prominent alderman. The magician-conjuror used to say that he wanted a beautiful watch from a member of the audience. He would go up to the alderman and eventually take from him a marvellous gold watch. He would bring it back to the stage, enfold it in a beautiful red handkerchief, place it on the table in front of us, take out his mallet, hit the watch and smash it to smithereens. Then on his countenance would come exactly the puzzled look of the Secretary of State for Industry. He would step to the front of the stage and say "I am very sorry. I have forgotten the rest of the trick." That is the situation of the Government. They have forgotten the rest of the trick. It does not work. Lest any objector should suggest that the act at the Palace theatre was only a trick, I should assure the House that the magician-conjuror used to come along at the end and say "I am sorry. I have still forgotten the trick."
We face a serious situation which, in some respects, is even worse than the 608 1930s and we have a Government who have learnt none of the lessons of the 1930s. We have to teach them. The way that our politics are to develop will depend first on what happens within the Cabinet and the Conservative Party. The troubled mind in the Conservative Party is widespread. Everyone who has listened to the speeches of Conservative Members can see that it is becoming very widespread. I am so generous that I will not even ask those Conservative Members who agree with the Government's policies to put up their hands. I do not believe that we would get even the few who enthusiastically obeyed on the previous occasion.
The disbelief does not exist only among trade unionists, Labour supporters and those in the sort of constituency that I represent. Throughout the country there is a rising disbelief in the policy that the Government are pursuing. If the right hon. Members that I have mentioned could capture a few more allies, it would be possible for them to change the situation, though that would not transform the whole industrial situation. The damage has gone so deep that it will be difficult to reverse it.
In addition, the cuts in public expenditure have not yet had their full effects by any means. We all learn from our own constituencies and I was horrified last week not only to hear what is happening in the steel industry, where most of those who are still at work are kept there by the compensation scheme and are on short time, but to discover that those working in new factories are having to face short-time working and the prospect that their industries may also have to close. If Conservative Members go to any industrial area they will discover that the disbelief in their policies is widespread among managements, workers and everybody else.
What will happen if the Cabinet manage to say that the lady must turn? That will not solve everything; I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), who said that earlier in the debate. However, it will assist, and the sooner we can get it, the better. If they do not succeed in that, they will all go down, because in the meantime we shall organise the biggest protest campaign that this country has 609 seen since the 1930s. We shall have a campaign from one end of the country to the other.
We shall fight the Government here in the House and outside. Shall we call it a Midlothian campaign? It will be against the atrocities of unemployment this time instead of the other atrocities against which Mr. Gladstone campaigned. I remind the House that when he embarked upon his Midlothian campaign Mr. Gladstone was 68 years old. I must inform Conservative hon. Members, who may not be aware of the facts, that Mr. Gladstone lived thereafter to form three—or was it four?—separate Administrations. So there is hope for all my hon. Friends, including my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East.
I hope that in that campaign we can combine other great themes. I believe that in the course of the campaign we shall be able to restore hope to our people, because there is no future for our country in the gospels of despair, in the doctrines of mass unemployment, in the idea that the way in which people can be made to work is by being whipped to work, whether by whips or scorpions.
What we must restore to the country is the proper sense of community in dealing with this great crisis. Just as in the greatest crises of our country in this century it was the Labour movement that came to the rescue, so it will be on this occasion too. We give due notice to the Conservative Party that we intend from this moment on to rouse the country from one end to the other and to ensure that as soon as the opportunity comes we get not merely what we had for five years—a tender, difficult situation with a majority one day and no majority the next—but the full majority to carry through the democratic, Socialist reforms that this country requires.
§ The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. James Prior)
No one will doubt that we have listened tonight to a brilliant speech by the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot). It was a brilliant speech, but not one second was devoted to a policy that should be put to the country, one that the right hon. Gentleman would have put to the country.
610 Before he could do so he would have to agree with his right hon. Friends, with whom, apparently, he had very little agreement during six years of office. If I understood the right hon. Gentleman correctly, what he was denying was the last six years of Labour Government.
§ Mr. Prior
The right hon. Gentleman was supporting his right hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn), who this afternoon made a speech that I never dreamt I should hear in the House. I do not think that many Labour Members who heard it were very pleased with it either.
This has been a serious debate, befitting a deep and serious national problem. I would be utterly misleading if I did not say that there was still a difficult period for this country to go through. This was brought out in a number of speeches on both sides of the House, none more surprising, perhaps, than the contribution of my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) who informed me that he would be unable to be present for the winding-up speech. I mention also the speeches of my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Thompson) and those of the hon. Members for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson), for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Lambie) and for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley).
Listening to Opposition Members, one might be forgiven for thinking that unemployment began only in May 1979. Given the old parliamentary performer that he is, the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale tried to discount that factor in advance. There was, however, a time in August 1977 when unemployment reached 1,635,000. The right hon. Gentleman made a characteristic speech. The further the distance that he puts himself from the experiences of government, the more eloquent he becomes. He will soon become as eloquent as many of us recall his being when he used to sit on the Front Bench below the Gangway.
The right hon. Gentleman is already forgetting many of the hard lessons that he had to learn when he was a Minister of the Crown, none harder, perhaps, than the fact that when he went into St. James's Square as Secretary of State for Employment, unemployment was just under 600,000. At that time the right hon.
611 Gentleman said that he would fight with every breath in his body against unemployment. When he came out of St. James's Square two years later, unemployment had doubled to 1.2 million. Has he forgotten that? Has the right hon. Gentleman also forgotten that unemployment went up considerably in his constituency during the time that he was a Minister? Has he forgotten how difficult it is for Ministers, or for others, to prevent unemployment from rising in certain circumstances in their own constituencies? No one knows that better at this moment than I do. I understand very well the feelings of many hon. Members who have spoken in the debate. They feel, as I do, the harsh facts of the unemployment situation.
The right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) and the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) suggested that we should pump more money into the economy. My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Waldegrave) made it plain that he felt that one cannot expand out of recession simply by throwing money at the problem.
The right hon. Member for Leeds, East had a good deal to say about the growth rate. He said that we had not achieved the 3 per cent. growth rate in manufacturing industry that was achieved, I think in 1978, under a Labour Government. I shall concentrate on manufacturing industry, because that is the important consideration. The GDP is to a certain extent helped by oil. I want to stick to manufacturing industry to illustrate this case.
By 1978–79, in manufacturing industry, we were still a long way short of what we had achieved by 1973. It is no good the right hon. Gentleman claiming that after six years of Labour government we could have got out of our unemployment problems and our problems of public borrowing by growth alone.
The right hon. Gentleman asked me about the likely unemployment level. He said that, if we kept growth at 3 per cent., we could solve our problems. That is precisely what he said in 1976. He said then that unemployment would be down to 3 per cent., or 700.000, by 1979. However, unemployment doubled. It is not quite so easy as Opposition Members now make out to achieve the growth in 612 the economy that brings down the level of unemployment.
I shall not play that game. I shall not put out a series of wildly optimistic figures of the kind put out repeatedly by the right hon. Member for Leeds, East:The fact is that no one can predict with any hope of accuracy the path of unemployment over the next few years … the key to an improvement in our unemployment prospects must lie in the performance of our manufacturing industry, in increasing the volume of our exports, and in countering the penetration of our domestic market by foreign imports.Those wise words on the perils of making any forecasts are not mine. They were said by the right hon. Member for Leeds, East when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. In view of his present preoccupations, I intended to spare him embarrassments this evening. However, I have omitted from that quotation a passage in which he voiced his total agreement with the present Chief Secretary, whom he quoted favourably as saying:It simply does not lie within the capability of Government to give employment targets."—[Official Report, 21 December 1976, Vol. 923, c. 499.]That is why I am not prepared to give an employment target or a forecast tonight.
I have tried to indicate the magnitude of our task. Unemployment was very high during the years of the Labour Government. They found that they could not solve the problem simply by pumping in more and more money. If we ever had another Labour Government, and if a member of it was the right hon. Member for Bristol, South-East, they would not have to worry about the exchange rate: within 24 hours there would be such a run on the pound that the bottom would fall out of the exchange rate.
§ Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland)
The question which the Secretary of State was asked to answer earlier was not about the Government's target for unemployment. The question was that put by the general secretary of the TUC, namely, what level of unemployment the Government would consider to be unacceptable before they turned and adopted other policies.
§ Mr. Prior
No, not now.
No mention has been made by Opposition Members of where they would find the money. The right hon. Member for Bristol, South-East at the Labour Party conference described a plan which he described again today, and which Shirley Williams says would cost at least £10,000 million. When the right hon. Gentleman was asked by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) where the money would come from—from more borrowing, from more taxation or from just printing money—he did not answer. Of course, he knows perfectly well that it would probably be something of all three, and that the result would be completely disastrous.
Over the past 20 years we have moved to a position of steadily worsening unemployment. There have been structural changes, with more women and young people coming on to the market. We are less competitive as a nation than we were 20 years ago. Other nations have been far more successful than we have. There has also been a growth of the lesser developed countries, such as Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, which have taken quite a bit of our markets.
Step by step, unemployment in Britain has increased. In 1963, at its peak, it was 500,000. In 1968 it was more than 500,000. By 1972 it was 900,000, and by 1977 it had reached 1.4 million. That is the magnitude of the task that faces this country, and it is not much good saying that the old remedies that we have tried repeatedly, with the best of good will, are likely to succeed this time round. The nation and the House might now start to face up to this issue.
§ Mr. Heffer
The right hon. Gentleman has referred to the past 20 years and to various statements by my right hon. and hon. Friends. May I draw his attention to the television discussion the other evening with Mr. Harold Macmillan, who made it quite clear that the Government's deflationary policies were causing unnec- 614 essary hardship? If the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to listen, it might be important for him and his right hon. and hon. Friends to listen to one of their former Prime Ministers, whom they regard as one of their most successful. He condemns completely the deflationary policies that the Government are implementing as causing unnecessary hardships.
§ Mr. Prior
I am second to none in my admiration of Mr. Harold Macmillan, but if I continue my speech it should become clear to the hon. Gentleman why I do not believe that our position now is in any way comparable with that of 20 years ago. Above all, we have to recognise that the oil price rises of 1973–74 and of 1979 have caused a fundamental change in the balance of world prosperity. Cash has been concentrating and accumulating in the hands of a few major oil exporting nations far faster than they can use it for purchases from the industrialised countries. As we know, the difficulties of many developing countries have also been compounded. Much of this cash is not available for lone-term investment. It is hot money that has been sloshing around the world from one market to the next. That fact, combined with all the uncertainties of Middle East instability, has had and will continue to have a profound effect on employment levels in Western Europe.
We are not the only country to suffer. Unemployment in Belgium is 10.5 per cent., in Italy 7.8 per cent., in Canada 7.6 per cent., and in Ireland 9.3 per cent. One of the few countries that are avoiding a high rate of unemployment is Germany, and that is one of the countries that has kept its inflation under control. Germany above all recognises the effects that high inflation had on its democratic processes in the 1920s. As a nation we must recognise what has happened in the past few years with the world balance of trade and its effect on our unemployment.
A number of comments were made by my hon. Friends about the public sector. They related to the problems of inflation and the public sector increasing the borrowing requirement of the Government. When we entered office we picked up a number of post-dated cheques that had resulted either from promises made to go to Professor Clegg or promises made 615 to honour Professor Clegg's recommendations. Are the Opposition now saying that, having established Professor Clegg and bought themselves out of strikes in the winter of 1978–79, they intended to dishonour their promises? We honoured those promises, and they cost us £2,000 million. That stage is now past. We cannot continue to pay the public sector at the rate that it has been paid in the past two years. Every 1 per cent. of increased public services sector pay costs £300 million. If we are to have a fair balance between the private sector and the public sector we must get public sector pay at much lower levels. People in the public sector recognise that they have as big an obligation as anyone else to try to help those in the private sector, many of whom have been thrown out of work.
Hon. Members asked about the use of oil revenues. That question was raised a number of times during the debate. Last year revenues from oil amounted to about £2.2 billion. This year they will amount to about £4.1 billion. They are part of the Government's revenue and are used for a number of purposes.
Let us take four basic British industries—steel, shipbuilding, coal and British Leyland. This year those four basic industries have taken in investment, in losses, for redundancies and for social purposes a figure of at least £2,250 million. Never let it be said by Opposition Members that we have not given support to basic industries in Britain when we are subscribing cash to that amount. It helps with employment, but it is a painful decision to take because, as we all know, it robs other industries and people of employment, much of which could be in newer industries where perhaps the demand for goods could be greater. Let not the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale say that we have not put every bit as much money into the steel industry for the right purposes as he ever did. If the previous Labour Government had taken the steps with the steel industry that they should have taken, it would not be in its present mess.
§ Mr. Prior
Had we had a bit more backing from the Opposition at that time we might not have had a strike, either. The encouragement that they gave to go for unrealistic wage settlements, as they always have done, has been one of the great problems from which we have suffered.
In the last 10 minutes of the debate I wish to say something about the temporary employment measures and pick up some of the points that have been made about apprenticeships and what we are doing for youth, as well as the questions raised by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding) about the long-term unemployed. Through these special employment measures we can provide opportunities for temporary work or training, particularly for the young, and we can assist companies with a genuinely long-term future to overcome difficulties in the short term.
I announced in February this year that the Government would make money available for an expansion of the special employment measures. At that time we were keeping an estimated 205,000 people off the unemployment register—compared with 170,000 in May 1979. The very latest figures for September show that the total of those being kept off the register has risen to 234,000. A total of 477;000 people are now receiving help under the Government's measures. In the course of the current financial year, we shall spend £530 million in gross terms on these special measures, although the total is less than that if one takes the net figure.
Much has been said, and we share the concern, about the depressing and demoralising effect of long-term unemployment on school leavers. In February I said that the MSC would expand the number of filled places in the youth opportunities programme to 105,000. In fact, 135,000 young people are already in the programme. Last month alone, the figure rose by 20,000. I also said at that time that 250,000 young people would enter the programme in this financial year. In fact, by March the number of young people entering the programme during the financial year will be nearer 300,000. If the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer) finds that boring, he ought to go out of the Chamber, because half the problems raised in this debate have 617 centred on the problems of young people, and I am trying to show how the Government are dealing with them.
Therefore, nearly 300,000 people will be helped this year, and by next March I expect to be able to say, as has been said in each of the last two years, that the MSC has substantially met the undertaking that no Easter or summer school leaver from this year should remain unemployed by the following Easter without the offer of a suitable place in the programme.
Each week the media give a lot of publicity to redundancies—the ITN, The Sunday Times, and so on. They do not point out that the number of young people being absorbed into the youth opportunities programme has been increasing by 2,000 a week and that in the month of September alone it was increasing by 5,000 a week. All these measures remain open until March 1981.
We have been considering the future of the special measures. I saw the MSC the week before last. I took note of its comments, and I am discussing its proposals with my colleagues. I hope to announce the results of the annual review shortly.—[HON. MEMBERS: "When will you get the money?"]. I think that I shall be a lot more successful in getting the money from my colleagues than the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) ever was. Not only could he not get the money; he did not want the money. He wanted to let Chrysler go to the wall. He was not interested in money.
I turn to the problems raised by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme. At present there are about 340,000 longterm unemployed persons—about the same number as there were when we took office, or when the previous Government left office. Let us get that straight. As the House knows, it is not possible, and it would not he possible, to provide jobs for all those people through schemes. The Labour Government did not do so, and Labour Members know that it is not possible to do so. What is more important is that we should seek to provide proper jobs, and not simply make jobs. Further, I believe that we can and should concentrate a great deal more on trying to help the 618 voluntary organisations to use voluntary labour where it is available and wishes to help.
The hon. Member for Colne Valley asked about apprenticeships. Last year the Government aided 21,000 apprenticeship schemes. This year we are financing 25,000 young apprentices. However, during the next few weeks I hope to bring forward further proposals—not necessarily involving more money. [Interruption.] I do not think that one solves every problem by throwing money at it. Immediately we talk about training Labour Members think that we have to spend more money. We have been spending vast sums of money on training over the last few years, and even under the previous Government, with all the problems of unemployment, there was still a shortage of skilled labour. A problem is not solved just by money; it is solved by better organisation.
We face a difficult time. Great anxiety has been expressed from both sides of the House and yet there has been a remarkable degree of co-operation and understanding between management, workers and unions—more so than would have been predicted as possible, and perhaps more so than Labour Members recognise. Out of adversity have come real and solid improvements in productivity and many signs of growing understanding on the need for wage restraint. There has been restraint on the part of workers, not only to save their jobs, but in the knowledge that they can help to save others and to create new jobs.
Over the next two or three years we need to resolve, as a nation, that as we emerge from this recession, as we will, we do not slide back into the same old methods that are the cause of our present problems. A combination of greater productivity and buying the better British goods that we produce can transform our position. I hope that a sufficient number of hon. Members will support British Leyland in the future and not find it necessary to drive around in foreign cars or to buy foreign goods—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Prior
Better goods, completed at the right time with the right design and 619 at the right price are the answers to our unemployment problems. For years we have been importing other countries' unemployment. That has to stop. My message to hon. Members tonight is to support the Government in the Lobby,
§ because only our policies can put this country right.
§ Question put:——
§ The House divided: Ayes, 252, Noes 308.621
|Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)||Walker, Rt Hon Harold (Doncaster)||Wilson, Gordon (Dundee East)|
|Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)||Weetch, Ken||Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)|
|Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)||Wellbeloved, James||Wilson, William (Coventry SE)|
|Thomas, Mike (Newcastle East)||Welsh, Michael||Winnick, David|
|Thomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen)||White, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)||Woodall, Alec|
|Thorne, Stan (Preston South)||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)||Woolmer, Kenneth|
|Tilley, John||Whitehead, Phillip||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|Tim, James||Whitlock, William||Young, David (Bolton East)|
|Torney, Tom||Wigley, Dafydd|
|Urwin, Rt Hon Tom||Willey, Rt Hon Frederick||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.|
|Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.||Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)||Mr. Joseph Dean and|
|Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)||Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)||Mr. Hugh McCartney.|
|Wainright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|Division No. 480]||AYES||10. pm|
|Abse, Leo||Field, Frank||Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)|
|Adams, Allen||Fitch, Alan||Marshall, Jim (Leicester South)|
|Allaun, Frank||Flannery, Martin||Martin, Michael (Gl'gow, Springb'rn)|
|Alton, David||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Mason, Rt Hon Roy|
|Anderson, Donald||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Maxton, John|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Maynard, Miss Joan|
|Armstrong, Rt Hon Ernest||Forrester, John||Meacher, Michael|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Foulkes, George||Mellish, Rt Hon Robert|
|Ashton, Joe||Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham)||Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald||Milian, Rt Hon Bruce|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Freud, Clement||Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride)|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Garrett, John (Norwich S)||Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby)|
|Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood)||George, Bruce||Mitchell. R. C. (Soton, Itchen)|
|Beith, A. J.||Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John||Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw)|
|Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood||Ginsburg, David||Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon)|
|Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)||Golding, John||Morton, George|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Gourlay, Harry||Moyle, Rt Hon Roland|
|Booth, Rt Hon Albert||Graham, Ted||Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick|
|Bottomley, Et Hon Arthur (M'brough)||Grant, George (Morpeth)||Newens, Stanley|
|Bradley, Tom||Grant, John (Islington C)||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Grimond, Rt Hon J.||Ogden, Eric|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Proven)||Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)||Hardy, Peter||O'Neill, Martin|
|Brown, Ron (Edinburgh, Leith)||Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Orme, Rt Hon Stanley|
|Buchan, Norman||Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith||Owen, Rt Hon Dr David|
|Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)||Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Paisley, Rev Ian|
|Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)||Haynes, Frank||Palmer, Arthur|
|Campbell, Ian||Healey, Rt Hon Denis||Parker, John|
|Campbell-Savours, Dale||Heffer, Eric S.||Parry, Robert|
|Canavan. Dennis||Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire)||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Cant, R. B.||Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall)||Pendry, Tom|
|Carmichael, Neil||Home Robertson, John||Penhaligon, David|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Homewood, William||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Cartwright, John||Hooley, Frank||Price, Christopher (Lewisham West)|
|Clark, Dr David (South Shields)||Horam, John||Race, Reg|
|Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)||Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)||Radice, Giles|
|Conlon, Bernard||Huckfield, Les||Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds South)|
|Cook, Robin F.||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Richardson, Jo|
|Cox, Tom (Wandsworth, Tooting)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Craigen, J. M. (Glasgow, Maryhill)||Janner, Hon Greville||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)|
|Crowther, J. S.||Jay, Rt Hon Douglas||Roberts, Ernest (Hackney North)|
|Cryer, Bob||John, Brynmor||Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)|
|Cunliffe, Lawrence||Johnson, James (Hull West)||Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)|
|Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven)||Johnson, Walter (Derby South)||Robinson, Peter (Belfast East)|
|Davidson, Arthur||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Rodgers, Rt Hon William|
|Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Lianelll)||Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda)||Rooker, J. W.|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Jones, Barry (East Flint)||Roper, John|
|Davis, Clinton, (Hackney Central)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)|
|Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford)||Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)|
|Deakins, Eric||Kilfedder, James A.||Rowlands, Ted|
|Dempsey, James||Kinnock, Neil||Ryman, John|
|Dewar, Donald||Lambie, David||Sandelson, Neville|
|Dixon, Donald||Lamborn, Harry||Sever, John|
|Dobson, Frank||Leadbitter, Ted||Sheerman, Barry|
|Dormand, Jack||Leighton, Ronald||Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert (A'ton-u-L)|
|Douglas, Dick||Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)||Shore, Rt Hon Peter (Step and Pop)|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)|
|Dubs, Alfred||Litherland, Robert||Silkin, Rt Hon S.C. (Dulwich)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Lofthouse, Geoffrey||Silverman, Julius|
|Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford West)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Dunnett, Jack||Mabon, Rt Hon Dr. J. Dickson||Smith, Rt Hon J. (North Lanarkshire)|
|Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth||McDonald, Dr Oonagh||Snape, Peter|
|Eadie, Alex||McElhone, Frank||Soley, Clive|
|Eastham, Ken||McGuire, Michael (Ince)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)||McKay, Allen (Penistone)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire)||McKelvey, William||Stallard, A. W.|
|Ellis, Tom (Wrexham)||MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|English, Michael||Maclennan, Robert||Stewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)|
|Ennals, Rt Hon David||McNamara, Kevin||Stoddart, David|
|Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)||McTaggart, Robert||Stott, Roger|
|Evans, John (Newton)||Magee, Bryan||Strang, Gavin|
|Ewing, Harry||Marks, Kenneth||Straw, Jack|
|Faulds, Andrew||Marshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shettles'n)||Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley|
|Adley, Robert||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)|
|Aitken, Jonathan||Dover, Denshore||Hunt, David (Wirral)|
|Alexander, Richard||du Cann, Rt Hon Edward||Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)|
|Alison, Michael||Dunn, Robert (Dartford)||Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)|
|Amery, Rt Hon Julian||Durant, Tony||Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick|
|Ancram, Michael||Dykes, Hugh||Jessel, Toby|
|Arnold, Tom||Eden, Rt Hon Sir John||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke)||Jopling, Rt Hon Michael|
|Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)||Eggar, Tim||Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith|
|Atkins, Robert (Preston North)||Elliott, Sir William||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine|
|Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East)||Eyre, Reginald||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Fairbairn, Nicholas||Kimball, Marcus|
|Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)||Fairgrieve, Russell||King, Rt Hon Tom|
|Beaumont-Dark, Anthony||Faith, Mrs Sheila||Kitson, Sir Timothy|
|Bell, Sir Ronald||Farr, John||Knight, Mrs Jill|
|Bendall, Vivian||Fell, Anthony||Knox, David|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay)||Fenner, Mrs Peggy||Lamont, Norman|
|Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon)||Finsberg, Geoffrey||Lang, Ian|
|Benyon, W. (Buckingham)||Fisher, Sir Nigel||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Best, Keith||Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N)||Latham, Michael|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Lawrence, Ivan|
|Bitten, Rt Hon John||Fookes, Miss Janet||Lawson, Nigel|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Forman, Nigel||Lee, John|
|Blackburn, John||Fowler, Rt Hon Norman||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark|
|Blaker, Peter||Fox, Marcus||Lester, Jim (Beeston)|
|Body, Richard||Fraser, Rt Hon Sir Hugh||Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Fraser, Peter (South Angus)||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Fry, Peter||Loveridge, John|
|Bowden, Andrew||Galbraith, Hon T. G. D.||Luce, Richard|
|Boyson, Dr Rhodes||Gardiner, George (Reigate)||Lyell, Nicholas|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Gardner, Edward (South Fylde)||Macfarlane, Neil|
|Bright, Graham||Garel-Jones, Tristan||MacKay, John (Argyll)|
|Brinton, Tim||Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian||Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)|
|Brittan, Leon||Glyn, Dr Alan||McNair-Wilson, Michael, (Newbury)|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Goodlad, Alastair||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)|
|Brooke, Hon Peter||Gorst, John||McQuarrie, Albert|
|Brotherton, Michael||Gow, Ian||Madel, David|
|Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe)||Gower, Sir Raymond||Major, John|
|Browne, John (Winchester)||Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)||Marland, Paul|
|Bruce-Gardyne, John||Gray, Hamish||Marlow, Tony|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Grieve, Percy||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Hon Alick||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St Edmunds)||Marten, Neil (Banbury)|
|Buck, Antony||Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouh N)||Mates, Michael|
|Budgen, Nick||Grist, Ian||Mather, Carol|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Grylls, Michael||Maude, Rt Hon Angus|
|Burden, Sir Frederick||Gummer, John Selwyn||Mawby, Ray|
|Butcher, John||Hamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm & Ew'll)||Mawhinney, Dr Brian|
|Butler, Hon Adam||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin|
|Cadbury, Jocelyn||Hampson, Dr Keith||Mayhew, Patrick|
|Carlisle, John (Luton West)||Hannam, John||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Carlisle Kenneth (Lincoln)||Haselhurst, Alan||Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch)|
|Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn)||Hastings, Stephen||Mills, Iain (Meriden)|
|Chalker, Mrs. Lynda||Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael||Mills, Peter (West Devon)|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Hawkins, Paul||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Chapman, Sydney||Hawksley, Warren||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Churchill, W. S.||Hayhoe, Barney||Moate, Roger|
|Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)||Heath, Rt Hon Edward||Monro, Hector|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Heddle, John||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Clegg, Sir Walter||Henderson, Barry||Moore, John|
|Colvin, Michael||Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael||Morgan, Geraint|
|Cope, John||Hicks, Robert||Morris, Michael (Northampton, Sth)|
|Cormack, Patrick||Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.||Morrison, Hon Charles (Devizes)|
|Corrie, John||Hill, James||Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)|
|Costain, Sir Albert||Hogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham)||Murphy, Christopher|
|Critchley, Julian||Holland, Philip (Carlton)||Myles, David|
|Crouch, David||Hooson, Tom||Neale, Gerrard|
|Dean, Paul (North Somerset)||Hordern, Peter||Needham, Richard|
|Dickens, Geoffrey||Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey||Nelson, Anthony|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Howell, Rt Hon David (Guildford)||Neubert, Michael|
|Normanton, Tom||Rost, Peter||Thompson, Donald|
|Nott, Rt Hon John||Royle, Sir Anthony||Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)|
|Onslow, Cranley||Sainsbury, Hon Timothy||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Oppenheim, Rt Hon Sally||St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon Norman||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Page, John (Harrow, West)||Scott, Nicholas||Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)|
|Page, Rt Hon Sir Graham (Crosby)||Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)||Trippler, David|
|Page, Richard (SW Hertfordshire)||Shelton, William (Streatham)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Parris, Matthew||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)||Vaughan, Dr Gerard|
|Patten, Christopher (Bath)||Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br'hills)||Waddington, David|
|Patten, John (Oxford)||Shersby, Michael||Wakeham, John|
|Pattie, Geoffrey||Silvesler, Fred||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Pawsey, James||Sims, Roger||Walker, Bill (Perth & E Perthshire)|
|Percival, Sir Ian||Skeet, T. H. H.||Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek|
|Peyton, Rt Hon John||Speed, Keith||Wall, Patrick|
|Pink, R. Bonner||Speller, Tony||Walters, Dennis|
|Pollock, Alexander||Spence, John||W[...]d, John|
|Porter, Barry||Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)||Warren, Kenneth|
|Prentice, Rt Hon Reg||Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)||Watson, John|
|Price, Sir David (Eastleigh)||Sproat, Iain||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Prior, Rt Hon James||Squire, Robin||Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)|
|Proctor, K Harvey||Stainton, Keith|
|Pym, Rt Hon Francis||Stanbrook, Ivor||Wheeler, John|
|Raison, Timothy||Stanley, John||Whitelaw, Rt Hon William|
|Rathbone, Tim||Steen, Anthony||Whitney, Raymond|
|Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)||Stevens, Martin||Wickenden, Keith|
|Rees-Davies, W. R.||Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Renton, Tim||Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire)||Wilkinson, John|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Stokes, John||Williams, Delwyn (Montgomery)|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Stradling Thomas, J.||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Ridley, Hon Nicholas||Tapsell, Peter||Wolfson, Mark|
|Rifkind, Malcolm||Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW)||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey||Taylor, Teddy (Southend East)||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)||Tebbit, Norman||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret||Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and|
|Rossl, Hugh||Thomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S)||Mr. Anthony Berry.|
§ Question accordingly negatived.