HC Deb 07 July 1981 vol 8 cc257-8
Q 1. Mr. Walter Johnson

asked the Prime Minister when she next expects to meet the general council of the Trades Union Congress.

The Prime Minister (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)

I have no immediate plans to do so.

Mr. Johnson

Is the Prime Minister aware that over 12½ million trade unionists are affiliated to the TUC and that, with their families, they represent over half the population of Britain? In the national interest, therefore, will the Prime Minister and her colleagues stop baiting and alienating the trade unions? Will she work with them and with the TUC and try to deal with some of the serious problems, particularly unemployment?

The Prime Minister

If representatives of the TUC ask to see me, of course I shall see them. I have never refused to see them when they have asked to come along together, although rather a lot of them have come along together. This House represents all the people. I work through this House.

Sir William Clark

When my right hon. Friend next sees the general council of the TUC, will she remind it that a massive increase in public expenditure, both revenue and capital, coupled with a massive increase in direct and indirect taxation, will inevitably lead to an increase in the public sector borrowing requirement, probably to between £20 million and £25 million? Does she agree that that would increase the bank rate, increase inflation, increase the cost of mortgages, increase the cost of businesses and result in unemployment? Does my right hon. Friend agree that anyone advocating such a course is irresponsible and not fitted to lead a Government?

The Prime Minister

I agree with my hon. Friend. One cannot pursue a policy of taxing less and spending more while hoping to make ends meet.

Mr. Bidwell

Is the right hon. Lady aware that Mr. Len Murray, the general secretary of the TUC, insists that when he sees her it is like having a dialogue with the deaf?

The Prime Minister

I had no idea that Mr. Murray was deaf.