HC Deb 09 December 1976 vol 922 cc318-9W
Mr. Newton

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the legislation, proposed legislation, and other Government actions which he regards as fulfilling Government obligations under the social contract.

Mr. Harold Walker

The social contract covers a wide range of economic and social policies and I would refer the hon. Member to the TUC-Labour Party Liaison Committee's document "The Next Three Years and the Problem of Priorities", a copy of which has been place in the Library. This document describes the principal measures taken in fulfilment of the Government's commitments as follows:

The speedy implementation of the pledge to a £10-a-week pension for a single person and £16 for married couples in 1974, followed by further pension increases in 1975 and 1976, side by side with the enactment of the Social Security Pensions Act 1975.

The repeal, through the Housing Rents and Subsidies Act 1975, of parts of the 1972 Housing Finance Act; security of tenure to tenants in furnished accommodation—through the 1974 Rent Act; the abolition, in the 1974 Finance Act, of tax relief on mortgages above £25,000 and on second homes; and the enactment of the 1976 Rent (Agriculture) Act to give security of tenure to workers in agricultural tied cottages.

The enactment of the Community Land Act 1975 to provide for the public ownership of development land.

The introduction, in the Finance Act 1975 of the capital transfer tax; action in the Finance Act 1974 and the Finance (No. 2) Act 1975 on the "lump"; and general changes to make income tax fairer.

The repeal, through the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974, of the Industrial Relations Act and the enactment of the Employment Protection Act 1975, which gave new rights to workers and their representatives and placed the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service on a statutory basis; and a major expansion in the funds available for retraining.

The creation in the 1975 Industry Act of the National Enterprise Board; the establishment through their respective Acts of the Scottish and Welsh Development Agencies; the creation of the British National Oil Corporation through the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-lines Act 1975; and the introduction of a Bill to bring the aircraft and shipbuilding industries into public ownership and control.

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