HC Deb 18 December 1989 vol 164 c18
106. Mr. Skinner

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service when he next intends to hold discussions with representatives of Civil Service trade unions; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Luce

I meet representatives of the Civil Service trade unions from time to time. A wide variety of matters are raised.

Mr. Skinner

Notwithstanding all the Government's recent attacks on the pay of various sections of the working class, especially the ambulance crews, will the Minister confirm to the Civil Service unions that the Government do not have a pay policy? They were elected not to have one in 1979. As the Government's official policy on devaluation is rapidly taking place—there has been a 13 per cent. reduction in the past 12 months, which probably equates to a three percentage point increase on the inflation index—will the Minister tell those unions that their pay should be increased by at least that amount, on top of the 13 per cent?

Mr. Luce

I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman does not realise that Civil Service pay and the pay of specific groups, such as the ambulance men is the responsibility of individual Departments or for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to decide. I am startled that the hon. Gentleman prefaced his question by talking in class terms. Nothing is more divisive than considering public issues in terms of class and nothing could be more neolithic than the hon. Gentleman's attitude.