HC Deb 23 July 1996 vol 282 c283W
23. Mr. Patrick Thompson

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment he has made of the extent to which industrial action has been taken in response to recent social security reforms(a) in the United Kingdom and (b) in other EU countries. [36978]

Mr. Lilley

In the United Kingdom we began to respond to the demographic, social and economic changes common to most industrial nations rather earlier than other countries, and have been able to avoid disruption by taking a longer-term perspective. I have done this by introducing reform measures gradually on a sector-by-sector basis to maintain an effective, efficient and affordable welfare system.

There has been no industrial action outside of my Department of which I am aware and very little adverse reaction from my own Department's staff. Other EU countries including Germany, France, Belgium and Italy, have been dogged by major disruption and unrest during their recent attempts to contain the cost of providing a welfare system.