HC Deb 26 January 1989 vol 145 c1165
4. Mr. Nellist

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the consequences for the economy of two-year pay deals of, or over, 20 per cent.

The Paymaster General (Mr. Peter Brooke)

None. Few such pay deals have been concluded.

Mr. Nellist

Given that the Chancellor and other Treasury Ministers have expressed derogatory views about such pay deals in the press, and notwithstanding the reasons of other right hon. and hon. Members for so doing, will the Minister explain why he and every Treasury Minister, including the Chancellor, voted in favour of a pay rise of over 25 per cent. for hon. Members for 1988–89? What peculiar brand of logic leads Treasury Ministers to tell Jaguar workers, workers at Peugeot Talbot in Coventry or home owners groaning under a 13 per cent. mortgage that they cannot demand what Ministers vote for themselves?

Mr. Brooke

In 1983, the Government opposed what became known as the du Cann amendment on hon. Members' pay linkage. The hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) voted with the Government, but despite his help we were defeated by eight votes. In 1987, the Government respected the will of the House as expressed in 1983 and tabled a resolution to implement the amendment, because otherwise it would not have counted for pension purposes. Unlike a recent Labour Government on boundary commission proposals, this Government vote for their own resolutions.

Mr. Yeo

Does my right hon. Friend agree that whatever the consequences of two-year pay deals of over 20 per cent. may be, they are much better than the consequences of one-year pay deals of over 20 per cent., which were such a feature of the last Labour Government's period of office?

Mr. Brooke

The Government believe that pay is ultimately a matter for the parties directly concerned. I join my hon. Friend in urging pay restraint.

Mr. Mullin

What has the Minister to say about the 286 per cent. increase that Lord Hanson awarded himself last year, the 237 per cent. increase that Lord King awarded himself last year and the 168 per cent. increase that John Clement of the Littlewoods Organisation awarded himself last week? Is the Minister's plea for restraint addressed to them?

Mr. Brooke

As I said to my hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, South (Mr. Yeo), pay is ultimately a matter for the parties directly concerned.