§ Mr. Frank Field
asked the Paymaster General if he will list each occasion since 1979 when he or a member of the Government has written to a wages council about the level of wage settlements in that sector; and if he will give details of each such initiative.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
The then Secretary of State wrote to the chairmen of the retail food and allied trades and the retail trades (non-food) wages councils on 25 February 1983, and to the chairman of the unlicensed place of refreshment wages council on 9 August 1983, about proposals published by those councils for increases in statutory minimum rates. These letters pointed out the potentially damaging effects on businesses and jobs if the proposals were confirmed, and asked the councils to give serious consideration to representations against the proposals.
The full text of the first two letters was given in answer to a question from the hon. Member on 31 March 1983 (columns 243–44). I shall be pleased to send him a copy of the last one if he so wishes.