HC Deb 29 April 1993 vol 223 c1150
Q8. Mr. Pike

To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 29 April.

The Prime Minister

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave some moments ago.

Mr. Pike

Will the Prime Minister rethink the Government's approach to low pay and the abolition of the wages councils? Will he consider the information prepared by Lancashire county council which not only highlights the scandal of low pay but shows that in areas with no wages councils there is a much higher incidence of low pay, clearly identifying the dangers of their abolition?

The Prime Minister

I am hardly likely to take any advice from Lancashire county council, given its record in recent years. The sheer scale of the increase in Lancashire's council tax—I think from memory that it is an extra £84—as a result of the council's maladministration is remarkable. Therefore, it is most unlikely that I shall take its advice upon that matter.

On the general subject of wages councils, we have made it clear on a number of occasions in the past that their principal drawback is that they cost jobs to people who would otherwise be employed, and that is something which we care about, even if the hon. Gentleman does not.

Mr. Dalyell

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. On the sub judice rule, are the privileges of the House of Commons to be overtaken by arbitrary—

Madam Speaker

Order. I cannot take such a point of order now. I shall do so later, as always, at the end of questions.