HC Deb 22 July 1980 vol 989 cc155-6W
21. Mr. Norman Atkinson

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the current level of growth of incomes.

Mr. Jim Lester

The average earnings index shows that earnings increased by 21–1 per cent. in the year to May. That is much too high. It is bound to squeeze company liquidity and profits, and weaken the ability of firms to compete in international markets. It is bound to increase unemployment, which is already too high. Wage increases must be moderated in future if more damage is not to be done to competitiveness and to jobs.