HC Deb 27 March 1975 vol 889 cc281-4W
Mr. MacGregor

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the obstacles which prevent the compilation of the statistics on average earnings as between the public and private sectors, the non-availability of which was made clear in an answer to the Member of Parliament for Norfolk, South on 18th March, in view of the importance of such statistics in the consideration of present economic and incomes policy.

Mr. Booth:

The monthly index of average earnings is designed to provide a very rapid indicator of changes in earnings. It is based on a sample of large firms which can provide information quickly, and covers about 7 million employees in the production industries, transport and communication and certain miscellaneous services. It includes mining, gas, electricity, water, railways and buses, but very little of the rest of the public sector. Although experience has shown that the index is a reliable indicator of movements in earnings in the economy as a whole, it cannot be used to make reliable estimates for the public and private sectors separately.

Comprehensive figures of earnings, covering the whole economy in detail, are provided by the New Earnings Survey which relates to each April. The latest results were published in the November 1974 issue of the Department of Employment Gazette. These show, in tables 2–7, the percentage changes in average earnings between April 1973 and April 1974 for all the main individual national collective agreements, and for all the main individual industries as defined in the Standard Industrial Classification. It is possible to identify those which are either wholly within or wholly outside the public and private sectors; but there are some industries, such as steel, which are partly private and partly public. For reasons of confidentiality, the identity of the employer is not shown on the magnetic tapes which are used in the computer processing. Thus the public and private sectors cannot be identified with precision.

Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what is the index number of average earnings for all employees in all industries and services, expressed as a monthly average, for each of the years 1964 to 1974, taking January 1970 as 100;

(2) what are the index numbers of (a) the basic weekly rates of wages for men, and (b) the normal hourly rates of wages for men, expressed as a monthly average for each of the years 1964 to 1974, taking January 1970 as 100.

Mr. Booth:

The following are averages of the monthly indices of: (i) average earnings of all employees in Great Britain in all industries and services covered—that is, all manufacturing industries, agriculture, mining and quarrying, construction, gas, electricity and water supply, transport and communication, except sea

Index of average earnings (unadjusted) (January1970=100) Index of basic weekly rates of wages of manual men (31st January1970=100) Index of basic hourly rates of wages of manual men (31st January1970=100)
1964 69.6 75.2 72.0
1965 74.7 78.4 76.5
1966 79.6 81.9 81.4
1967 82.1 85.0 84.7
1968 88.8 90.7 90.6
1969 95.7 95.6 95.5
1970 107.2 105.1 105.2
1971 119.4 117.9 118.4
1972 134.8* 133.9 134.7
1973 152.6 151.6 152.9
1974 179.6† 179.8 181.4
* As industrial activity was severely disrupted by restricted electricity supplies the monthly survey of average earnings was not carried out for February 1972. This figure is an average of the indices for the other eleven months of 1972.
† The indices of average earnings for January and February 1974 were low because of three-day working and other restrictions which were in operation at that time. This figure reflects the effects of the low indices for January and February.

Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the percentage increases in wages and salaries in each of the present counties of England and Wales in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974; and what were the corresponding figures for (a) England and Wales, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland, (d) Northern Ireland, and (e) the United Kingdom as a whole.

Mr. Booth:

Earnings information for the present counties of England and Wales is available from the New Earnings Survey

1970–71* 1971–72 1972–73 1973–74
Full-time men (aged 21 and over)
England and Wales 9.6 11.5 14.1 13.8
Wales 10.4 12.6 13.4 13.8
Scotland 10.6 11.8 15.4 13.9
Northern Ireland Not available† 11.8 14.9 15.4
United Kingdom Not available† 11.6 14.2 13.9
Full-time women (aged 18 and over)
1970–71* 1971–72 1972–73 1973–74
England and Wales 12.2 12.0 12.6 16.8
Wales 11.9 11.8 12.6 14.7
Scotland 13.7 12.1 13.8 15.8
Northern Ireland Not available† 13.2 13.2 19.2
United Kingdom Not available† 12.0 12.7 16.5
* Average gross weekly earnings were not measured on exactly the same basis in the 1970 New Earnings Survey as in subsequent surveys. Consequently the estimates in this column are not as reliable as those in other columns.
† New Earnings Surveys were first conducted in Northern Ireland in 1971. Consequently on estimates of percentage increases in earnings can be given for 1970–71 for Northern Ireland or the United Kingdom.

transport and postal services; and certain miscellaneous services—and (ii) basic weekly and hourly rates of wages of manual men in the United Kingdom in all industries and services.

April 1974 onwards. I therefore regret that information on changes in earnings between successive Aprils is not yet available for these counties. The following national results of the New Earnings Surveys in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland give percentage increases between successive Aprils in average gross weekly earnings of all full-time men aged 21 and over and all full-time women aged 13 and over whose pay for the survey reference period was not affected by absence.

Following is the information: