HC Deb 14 April 1965 vol 710 cc213-4W
Mr. Steele

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what advice has been given by Her Majesty's Government on the provisions in the draft Royal Charter and Byelaws for the Confederation of British Industry relating to the nationalised industries.

Mr. Albu

The Privy Council Office has received the draft Royal Charter and Byelaws for the Confederation of British Industry. These make provision for nationalised industries to apply, if they wish, for a form of association not involving full membership.

In view of the special constitutional relationship between the boards of nationalised industries and Ministers, the Government have been considering their attitude to this proposal. Over the broad field of management problems, and in a mixed economy such as ours, there should be much advantage in a fruitful exchange of information and ideas, especially in the committee work and conferences of the C.B.I., both at the central and regional levels.

The draft Charter makes it specifically clear that the C.B.I. will have no power to do anything which would constitute an interference with any of its members in the conduct or management of their affairs or in their complete individual autonomy, nor would it affect their complete independence of action in such matters as the negotiation of wages and conditions of employment. Their association would not in any way interfere with the nationalised industries' statutory responsibilities or their relationships with their sponsoring Ministers.

It is also clearly understood that the nationalised industries, as associates of the C.B.I., would in no way be implicated in any pronouncements or discussions about questions that might be the subject of political controversy. At all times it would be the object of the C.B.I. to avoid embarrassment to the associates or the members in this context.

The Government accordingly accepts in principle the inclusion in the draft Charter and Byelaws of the permissive arrangements referred to.