§ DEFERMENT OF WAGES REGULATION ORDERS AND AGRICULTURAL WAGES ORDERS
§ Mr. Ray Mawby (Totnes)
I beg to move Amendment No. 106, in page 16, line 36, leave out 'by virtue of this Schedule' and insert 'by order'.
§ Mr. Speaker
With that Amendment I have suggested that we take the following: Amendment No. 109, in page 17, line 5, after 'may', insert 'by order'.
Amendment No. 110, in page 17, line 15, after 'may', insert' by order'.
§ Mr. Mawby
I do not think that it will take much time to make the main point of the Amendment. The House will understand that we are dealing with the Minister's power not to put into effect an Order made by a wages council. These three Amendments seek to ensure that the Minister is not automatically given that power by virtue of the Schedule, but can take that action only by means of an Order.
It is not necessary to go into great detail about the wages boards. It is sufficient to say that they are in a peculiar position vis-à-vis any other other negotiating machinery. The purpose of setting up these boards is laid down in the earlier Act. They are set up when it is apparent that there is no other way in which people engaged in these trades or professions can so arrange their affairs, by joining organisations and so on, that they are able to indulge in the normal system of wage and salary negotiations.
We have heard a good deal from the Government about their intention to look after the lower paid worker. It is therefore obvious that we should pay great attention to any decision by a wages council or wages board. Under paragraph 2 of the Schedule the Minister can 826 hold up for three months any decision made by a wages council, and following that there can be a further series of delays if the case is referred to the Prices and Incomes Board. One is therefore liable to indulge in sawing sawdust, because another body is being asked to reconsider issues which have already been decided by one statutory body. I make no complaint about that. My only point is that in these special cases we should not allow the Minister, by virtue of the Schedule, to refuse to carry out the decision of a wages council.
By inserting the words "by order" the Amendment seeks to make it clear that we are dealing with a special case, and if the Minister believes that a decision by a wages council should be resisted, or at least held up under the terms of the Bill, she should not be allowed to make that decision until the House has been able to discuss her reasons for doing so.
We are accustomed to dealing with orders under both the affirmative and the negative procedure. Admittedly we often discuss Orders late at night, but such occasions do at least give hon. Members an opportunity of discussing what the Government intend to do, and listening to the Government's reasons for their proposals. I suggest that the Minister should not have power to hold up a wages council order for three months, or perhaps even longer, if she decides to send it to the Prices and Incomes Board.
§ Mr. Albert Booth (Barrow-in-Furness)
Will the hon. Gentleman distinguish between the affirmative and negative procedure, because it is only in one or two cases that we have an automatic right to debate the Minister's decision?
§ Mr. Mawby
I do not want to go into detail, but we have had long discussions in the past, and no doubt shall have many more in future, about the basic difference between the affirmative Resolution procedure under which the Government put forward a proposal and we debate it, and the negative Resolution procedure under which an Order is laid on the Table, and if it is one of many, hon. Members have to decide which one to pray against within the number of praying days that are allowed to us.
I should prefer the affirmative Resolution procedure to be adopted, but the 827 Amendment does not go as far as that. It proposes to leave it to the discretion of the Minister to decide whether the Order should be introduced under the affirmative or negative Resolution procedure, but at least it will be laid down clearly that if the Minister considers that a wages council Order should be sujected to a standstill she will have to bring in an Order and the House will be able to discuss the pros and cons of her decision.
As I said earlier, these are special cases which come under a special provision. It may be that in future the recommendation in the Donovan Commission Report to change the basic Act so that wages councils are set up in a different way will be implemented, but the fact is that wages councils exist. They exist for certain purposes, and therefore an order issued by them is a special case. All we seek to do is to ensure that the Minister cannot hold up every wages council order, but only when she believes it to be necessary, and where she is prepared to give her reasons and justify her actions before the House.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (Mr. Harold Walker)
The hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby) has stressed that the purpose of the Amendment is primarily to enable Parliament to scrutinise the actions of my right hon. Friend. I draw his attention to the effect rather than the intention of the Amendment. The effect would be to impose on my right hon. Friend a duty to stop herself doing something, which seems, on the fact of it, a slightly absurd and unnecessary process.
He described the intention as being to submit the actions of my right hon. Friend to the scrutiny of Parliament, and he said that he found it difficult to understand why she should find it necessary to re-scrutinise something that had already been the subject of careful consideration by a statutory body. The statutory body will reach its decisions and conclusions by entirely different criteria from those contained in the Schedule. It might properly concern itself with carrying out the statutory functions imposed upon it by the wages council, which are not necessarily concerned with prices and incomes. My right hon. Friend will want to 828 scrutinise its proposals against the criteria contained in paragraph 34 of the White Paper.
One can appreciate and sympathise with his intentions, but the criteria are quite clearly laid down. There are within the framework of the Schedule pretty stringent restrictions upon the actions of my right hon. Friend. In any case, the Schedule makes it quite clear that this is not something that she must carry out as a duty necessarily imposed upon her, but something which she may do. I stress the word "may".
The Amendment would not have the effect the hon. Member is seeking to achieve. He has said that he is not trying to impose the need to pursue the affirmative procedures of the House but, in the terms in which it is drawn, neither does the Amendment impose upon my right hon. Friend the need to expose her decisions to the negative procedures of the House; and it would be necessary to write this into the Amendment. As drafted the Amendment would not invoke the negative procedures of the House, and would not have the effect which he seeks to achieve, and for that reason the Amendment is unacceptable.
§ Mr. Robert Carr (Mitcham)
The hon. Gentleman concluded his speech by claiming that my hon. Friends and myself have not achieved in our Amendment the purpose which we seek to achieve. While I would accept that as an argument absolute for not accepting these particular words, I would not accept that it is an argument against the purpose. The hon. Gentleman will know that time to consider and work on Amendments in detail has not been exactly unlimited. I hoped that we could decide this matter on the purpose, which my hon. Friend made quite clear, and that the hon. Gentleman would have looked a little more carefully at the purpose. Had he shown more sympathy to the purpose, we would naturally take his advice about the imperfection of the Amendment and would have been happy for him to have undertaken to find the right way to achieve our purpose when the Bill goes to another place. We must press our purpose.
The hon. Gentleman said that the effect of this, if the mechanism were right, would be to cause his right hon. Friend 829 to do something to stop herself from doing something—I think those were his words. Many of us think that anything which makes his right hon. Friend pause and think before she speaks would be a good thing in itself on any subject, but this matter is a special one. Wages council proposals are of their own kind. They are not like other wage settlements. When I say wages council proposals, the House will understand that I am including the proposals of the Agricultural Wages Board. The wages councils are of their own kind, and indeed the right hon. Lady in Committee made the point, not in those words, that they were different from other wage settlements and they must be treated specially. We feel very strongly that they ought not to be brought within the purview of the statutory powers of the Bill, but if they are to be, then at least they should be treated specially.
It must be remembered that wages councils contain independent members and have an independent chairman. We therefore have some reason to assume that the results of the deliberations of a wages council are not the results of purely selfish considerations within the industry. I do not use the word "selfish in a pejorative sense. The selfish considerations within the industry have been guided by and subjected to the experience, knowledge and responsibility of the independent chairman and other independent members. As I suggested earlier this morning—or it may have been last night—if the Government are in earnest about trying to achieve a voluntary incomes policy, there is a peculiar chance for wages councils to inject the public interest consideration at the formative stage of the proposals. Therefore, when the proposals come forward, they deserve to be treated more specially, more tenderly and with more formality than would be the case with any other proposals. I do not think it is unreasonable to say, if the hon. Lady feels that she must take action against a wages council proposal, first that it shall be a very rare and special event, and second, she should submit to a special process for doing so, and that is basically what we ask in the amendment.
I remind the House once again, although I scarcely think it is necessary, that the basic purpose of a wages council is to deal with workers who, although 830 they may include among their number people who have reasonably high average earnings, also undoubtedly include among their number some of the lowest paid workers in the country. That is another reason for special consideration and special method.
While I could not begin to argue against the hon. Gentleman in the matter of the Amendment being technically wrong and not achieving the purpose it sets out to achieve, I ask him to think again about the purpose. If he will not, I am afraid that I must ask my hon. and right hon. Friends to divide on policy.
§ Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)
I would like to press the Under-Secretary on the grounds which have been put forward by my right hon. Friend. I am astonished that the Under-Secretary should have taken such a pettifogging legalistic objection to the wording of the Amendment. All that the hon. Gentleman is saying is that the word "order" does not have the effect that my hon. Friend thought and that we should have referred to either the affirmative or negative procedure. That is a very narrow, pettifogging objection to the purpose of the Amendment.
Secondly, he is saying, in effect, that it should be left to the Minister to decide when she will object to the finding of a wages council and that she should make up her mind without even the scrutiny of this House.
For the reasons that my right hon. Friend has just given about the special category of these proposals, I submit that it is reasonable that at least this House should have an opportuntiy of expressing an opinion before the Minister interferes with a decision arrived at after careful consideration.
§ Mr. David Howell (Guildford)
I want to make only two points about the Amendment. First, it is a little bizarre, but I suppose not surprising that, on the very day after the Government so gladly accepted the Fulton Committee's Report, with its heavy emphasis on the need for accountability to this House, once again the Government should be running hard in the opposite direction under the cover of Ministerial discretion. One is accustomed to the Government's words and 831 deeds diverging at a geometric rate, but this breaks new records.
Secondly, the Under-Secretary said that we did not need the Amendment because the criteria were quite clear. However, with respect to him, the criteria are not clear in the case of wages councils. That became evident in Committee and, if further confirmation is needed, it can be found in the Donovan Report which makes clear that there are great difficulties in hiving off those parts of a wages council recommendation applying to higher paid workers from those parts applying to lower paid workers.
In Committee, great difficulty was found in trying to describe the almost byzantine procedure of deciding whether a wages council recommendation applied to the lowest paid, the lower paid and the higher paid workers, whether there might be consequential increases in pay in other spheres, and, if so, whether they should be given at the same time or at a later date, and how one should judge the consequential results of a wages award. Those are very obscure judgments, and they reinforce the need for this kind of decision to be exposed to debate. I am sorry that the Under-Secretary takes the attitude that he does.
§ Mr. Ian Mikardo (Poplar)
If the intention of the right hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) is carried out and the House divides on this Amendment, I am afraid that I shall not be able to support him and his hon. Friends. As my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary has just said, the Amendment does not do what a great many of us on both sides of the House would like to see. However, I would add that I have come to that conclusion with the utmost reluctance, because I think that the powers given to the Minister for unilateral action, not only without accountability but even without explanation, are larger than I am happy to see even as good a Minister as my right hon. Friend exercising in respect of the awards of wages councils and agricultural wages boards. Therefore, I shall have to find a way out of this quandary by not expressing a vote one way or the other.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Sir Douglas Glover (Ormskirk)
I would like an assurance from the Under- 832 secretary that he will ask his right hon. Friend to have another look at this Amendment, because I believe that it is a matter of great importance. Everyone who has contributed to the debate has been very unhappy with the hon. Gentleman's reply, including his hon. Friend the Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo), who, while I do not agree with him about the Amendment, takes the view that there is a matter of principle involved here. I am sure that he would like the Minister to bring an affirmative Resolution to the House so that a matter of this sort can be debated.
One point which has been touched on but not nearly strongly enough is the reaction of members of wages councils and agricultural wages boards. If their decisions are overridden by the right hon. Lady and her successors, unless there is an opportunity of debate and explanation in public of the reasons why, the right hon. Lady and her successors will find it increasingly difficult to man these bodies. Speaking for myself, if I were chairman or a member of one of them and our decision was overridden, as it were in secret, and there was no debate in Parliament and no opportunity for a public explanation of the reasons why, the decision had been overridden, I would consider—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman must not widen the debate. It is not a question of overriding but of postponing.
§ Sir D. Glover
Yes, Mr. Speaker. But I have to explain why I think that there ought to be an order and that the Minister should work on an order. If the Minister is able to do it, as it were in secret, a great deal of alarm and despondency will be created, and Ministers will find it difficult to persuade people of the right calibre to chair these bodies.
I think that my right hon. and hon. Friends have been unduly modest in suggesting an order. I would have preferred an affirmative Order. At any rate, the House should have an opportunity of choosing to debate such a decision on a negative order. We are told by the Under-Secretary that he cannot accept the Amendment. If that is the position, is he willing to ask his right hon. Friend whether she will not put in machinery to provide for a debate on 833 the Floor of the House in the event of a wages council or board decision being overridden, so that the general public can know on what basis that action has been taken?
§ Mr. Walker
One or two points have been made which deserve reply. First, it should not be overlooked that in respect of rates of pay, it is the duty of wages councils to establish statutory minima. That does not preclude negotiations within the ordinary framework of industrial bargaining for increases over and above the minima. That is something which happens all the time, and it falls within the normal pattern of the earlier features of this legislation. No one knows that better than my hon. Friend the Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) who is currently in discussion with some people in his constituency in respect of increases over and above the minimum provided by the wages council in the industry concerned.
The right hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) said that it was unlikely that a wages council would pursue selfish ends because such councils are responsible bodies with independent members. I agree entirely, but I must point out that it is the normal practice on wages councils for the independent members only to intervene and be involved in the discussions when the two sides disagree. In an industry which is going through a boom period, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility for the two sides to come to some mutually advantageous agreement which none the less may be outside the criteria of the incomes policy. That is why my right hon. Friend is seeking these powers—
§ Mr. R. Carr
I am aware of the tradition, which I do not think is an established statutory principle, that an independent Member should behave in that way, but the hon. Gentleman will re-
§ member that, about 10 years ago and less, when the Conservative Government had to deal with these matters, and in spite of passionate opposition from his hon. Friends at the time, we thought it preferable to give some guidance to the independent members about the public interest. Even this, in the best of all possible worlds, we would prefer not to do, but I still submit that to have a voluntary incomes policy that way is better than the way which the Government are trying to do it.
§ Mr. Walker
I do not challenge what the right hon. Gentleman says, but I was going to refer to the Wages Council Act of 1959, to which I presume he is referring, which itself imposed on the Minister a responsibility to scrutinise the wages councils' proposals. There is written into that Act a duty on the councils to submit their proposals, before they can be given statutory effect, to the Minister, who can refer them back for further consideration, admittedly with other criteria in mind—but they have to be referred to the Minister who has the power to refer them back and there is no provision for the House to scrutinise that decision. If it was right then, surely it is equally right now. The party opposite did not decide to do it then: I draw this to the attention of my hon. Friend the Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo), who sees an entirely different situation where no difference exists. That is why I ask the House to reject the Amendment.
§ Mr. Mikardo
Before my hon. Friend sits down, may I put it to him that, in his last observations, he was on a false point? There is a difference between past practice and now, since the powers given to the Minister under this Bill are hugely greater than those under the Wages Council Act. It is because they are so much greater that it seems that she should be more accountable for the exercise of those greater powers than she would have been for the exercise of the lesser.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 233, Noes 271.839
|Division No. 253.]||AYES||[4.24 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Awdry, Daniel||Batsford, Brian|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton|
|Astor, John||Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Bell, Ronald|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Balrriel, Lord||Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Cos. & Fhm)||Harrison, Brian (Malcon)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Osborn, John (HalIam)|
|Biffen, John||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Hastings. Stephen||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Hawkins, Paul||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Blaker, Peter||Higgins, Terence L.||Peel, John|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Hiley, Joseph||Peyton, John|
|Bottom, Sir Clive||Hill, J. E. B.||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Boyle, lit. Hn. Sir Edward||Hirst, Geoffrey||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Braine, Bernard||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Pounder, Rafton|
|Brewis John||Holland, Philip||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hooson, Emlyn||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hordern, Peter||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hornby, Richard||Pym, Francis|
|Buttus Sir Eric||Howell, David (Guildford)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Burden F. A.||Hunt, John||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Campbell B (Oldham, W.)||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Iremonger, T. L.||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Carr Rt. Hn. Robert||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Carv' Sir Robert||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Chichester Clark R.||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Cegg, Walter,R.||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Cooke, Robert||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Corfield, F. V.||JoP"ng, MiChael||RuS8cll, Sir Ronald|
|Costain, A.p.||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Kerby, Capt. Henry||Scott, Nicholas|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver||Kershaw, Anthony||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Crouch, David||Kimball, Marcus||Sharpies, Richard|
|Crowder, F. P.||Klng, Ev6lyn (Dorest) S.)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||King, petre||Silvester, Frederick|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Smith, Dudley (W'wick&L'mlngton)|
|Dalkeitn, Earl of||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Dance, James||Lane, David||Speed, Keith|
|d-Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Langford.Holt, Sir John||Stainton. Keith|
|Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Steel, David (Roxburgh)|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Lcwis, Kenneth (Rutlalld)||Stodart, Anthony|
|Digby, Simon wingfield||Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut' C'c field)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||L|oyd, Ia|] (P,tsm,thj Largstone)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Doughty, Charles||Longden, Gilbert||Tapsell, Peter|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. sir Alec||Loveys, W. H.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lubbock, Eric||Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Eden, Sir John||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||MacArthur, lan||Teeiing, Sir William|
|Elliott,R.W.(N'c'tle-upon.T,ne,N.)||Mackenzie,Alasdair(Ross&Crom'ty)||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Emery, Peter||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy|
|Eyre, Reginald||Macleod Rt. Hn. lain||Trlney, John|
|Farr, John||McMaster, Stanley||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Chaales||Maddan, Martin||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Fortescue, Tim||Maginnis, John E.||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Foster, Sir Jonn||Marten, Neil||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|Fraser, Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'ffford & Stone)||Maude, Angus||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Mawby, Ray||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Wall, Patrick|
|Giles, Rear-Adm. Morgan||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Walters, Dennis|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fifi, E.)||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Glower, Sir Douglas||Miscampbell, Norman||Webster, David|
|Glyn, Sir Richard||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Monro, Hector||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Goodhart, Philip||Montgomery, Fergus||Williams, Donald (Dudley)|
|Goodhew, Victor||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Gower, Raymond||More, Jasper|
|Grant, Anthony||Morrison Carles (Devizes)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Gran -Ferris, R.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Grieve Percy||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Murton, Oscar||Wylie, N. R.|
|Gurden, Harold||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Younger, Hn. George|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)||Nott, John||Mr. Timothy Kitson and|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Onslow, Cranley||Mr. Anthony Royle.|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Albu, Austen||Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)|
|Alldritt, Walter||Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Bishop, E. S.|
|Alien, Scholefield||Barnes, Michael||Blackburn, F.|
|Anderson, Donald||Barnett, Joel||Blenkinsop, Arthur|
|Archer, Peter||Bence, Cyril||Boardman, H. (Leigh)|
|Ashly, Jack||Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Boston, Terence|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Hazell, Bert||Oram, Albert E.|
|Boyden, James||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Oswald, Thomas|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Henig, Stanley||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)|
|Bradley, Tom||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Hilton, W. S.||Palmer, Arthur|
|Brooks, Edwin||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Parkin, Ben (Paddington, N.)|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Howie, W.||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Buchan, Norman||Hoy, James||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Huckfield, Leslie||Pentland, Norman|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)|
|Cant, R. B.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.|
|Carmichael, Neil||Hunter, Adam||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Hynd, John||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Chapman, Donald||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Probert, Arthur|
|Coe, Denis||Janner, Sir Barnett||Randall, Harry|
|Coleman, Donald||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Rankin, John|
|Concannon, J. D.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Rees, Merlyn|
|Conlan, Bernard||Jeger,Mrs.Lena(H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.)||Reynolds, Rt. Hn. G. W.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Richard, Ivor|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull W.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Cronin, John||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Jones, Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St.P'c'as)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Robinson, W. O. J. (Waith'stow, E.)|
|Darling, Rt. Hn, George||Judd, Frank||Rodgers, William (Stockton)|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Kelley, Richard||Roebuck, Roy|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)||Rogers, Ceorge (Kensington, N.)|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Lawson, George||Rose, Paul|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Leadbitter, Ted||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Ledger, Ron||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)|
|Delargy, Hugh||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)||Sheldon, Robert|
|Dell, Edmund||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Dempsey, James||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Dewar, Donald||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u.Tyne)|
|Dobson, Ray||Lipton, Marcus||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N. E.)|
|Doig, Peter||Lomas, Kenneth||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Dunn, James A.||Loughlin, Charles||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Dunnett, Jack||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||McBride, Neil||Slater, Joseph|
|Eadie, Alex||McCann, John||Small, William|
|Edelman, Maurice||MacColl, James||Snow, Julian|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||MacDermot, Niall||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Macdonald, A. H.||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)|
|Ellis, John||McKay, Mrs. Margaret||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|English, Michael||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Ennals, David||Mackie, John||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Ensor, David||Mackintosh, John P.||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||Maclennan, Robert||Swingler, Stephen|
|Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Symonds, J. B.|
|Fernyhough, E.||McNamara, J. Kevin||Taverne, Dick|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||MaePherson, Malcolm||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff,W.)|
|Foley, Maurice||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Thomson, Rt. Hn. George|
|Ford, Ben||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Thornton, Ernest|
|Forrester, John||Manuel, Archie||Tinn, James|
|Fowler, Gerry||Marks, Kenneth||Tuck, Raphael|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Marquand, David||Urwin, T. W.|
|Gardner, Tony||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Varley, Eric G.|
|Garrett. W. E.||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Ginsburg, David||Millan, Bruce||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Milne, Edward (Biyth)||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Gourlay, Harry||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Molloy, William||Weitzman, David|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Moonman, Eric||Wellbeloved, James|
|Grey, Charles (Durham)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Whitaker, Ben|
|Griffiths, Eddie||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Morris, John (Aberavon)||Whitlock, William|
|Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Moyle, Roland||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Murray, Albert||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Harper, Joseph||Neal, Harold||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Noel-Baker,Rt. Hn.Philip(Derby,S.)||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Oakes, Gordon||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Haseldine, Norman||Ogden, Eric||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Hattersley, Roy||O'Malley, Brian||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)||Woof, Robert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Winnick, David||Wyatt, Woodrow||Mr. Alan Fitch and|
|Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.||Yates, Victor||Mr. Eroest Armstrong.|
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Harold Walker
I beg to move Amendment No. Ill, in page 17, line 16, leave out lines 16 to 19, and insert:'but so that the order shall be made within the twelve months beginning with the date of submission of the proposals.In this sub-paragraph "date of submission" means the date of first submission to the Secretary of State or Ministry or, in the case of proposals resubmitted with amendments for increasing (by comparison with the proposals as previously submitted) any rate of remuneration or holidays, the date of resubmission.'.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Eric Fletcher)
It is suggested that with this we should take Amendment No. 108, in page 17, line 2, at end insert:'so that the total postponement by virtue of this subsection amounts to not more than four months beginning with the date on which the wages regulation proposals were submitted to the Secretary of State or Ministry'.
§ Mr. Walker
This rather technical Amendment fulfils two quite different undertakings given in Committee. The first point was raised by the hon. and learned Member for Northwich (Sir J. Foster) who argued that, as drafted, Part I of the Schedule required the Secretary of State not to make a wages regulation Order, but only to proceed to the making of the Order at the end of a 12-months period of postponement. This, he argued, meant from the time it took to proceed to the making of the Order, which would be a postponement for more than 12 months. My colleague the Under-Secretary confirmed that it was our intention that the making of the Order should be within 12 months, and he undertook to see whether we could not write that into the Bill. That is what we seek to do with the Amendment. This is done with the first part of the Amendment to paragraph 2(2) of the Schedule.
The second undertaking was that which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) to seek to incorporate in the Schedule an interpretation of the phrase "or finally submitted" in paragraph 2(2). My hon. Friend was concerned that, because the period of 12 months' postponement could run from the date when the wages 840 council proposals were submitted, or finally submitted, it would be possible in cases when proposals were referred to my right hon. Friend to count the 12 months from the date of the re-submission and thus achieve a postponement of more than 12 months from the date of submission of the original proposals.
The Amendment meets my undertaking and allows the date of resubmission to be used as the start of the 12-months' postponement except when the resubmitted proposals represent a larger increase in pay or holidays than did the original submission. This guards against what is admittedly a remote possibility to which I referred in Committee. The Amendment defines the date of resubmission as the date on which the maximum standstill of 12 months shall be calculated when resubmitted proposals are higher than the original submission. This does not mean that in all such cases the 12 months must be so calculated. Where appropriate, the standstill can always be for a period of less than 12 months from resubmission, equivalent to 12 months from the first submission.
I hope that hon. Members will feel that we have adequately fulfilled our undertaking in Committee and I am happy to commend the Amendment.
§ Mr. R. Carr
I am grateful to the Under-Secretary, as his hon. Friends must be, for the effort which the Government have made to deal with this issue which was brought out by both sides of the Standing Committee. This is probably the most important matter on which we have been met, but it is not the only point and it gives us purpose and satisfaction to what are sometimes protracted labours in Committee.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Mikardo
I beg to move Amendment No. 114, in page 17, line 19, at end insert:(3) Nothing in the provisions of this part of this Schedule shall make it unlawful for an employer, at a time when an order giving effect to wages regulation proposals has been made after a period of postponement, to pay any sum in respect of remuneration for employment at an earlier time.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
It is suggested that with this Amendment we should discuss:
Amendment No. 131, in page 17, line 19, at end insert:(3) Where the Secretary of State or Ministry postpones the making of an order to give effect to wages regulation proposals, nothing in this schedule shall prevent an employer from paying wages in accordance with the wages regulation proposals.Amendment No. 132, in page 18, line 10, at end insert:6. Where the appropriate authority makes an order directing that an agricultural wages order shall not come into operation, nothing in this schedule shall prevent an employer from paying wages in accordance with the agricultural wages order.Amendment No. 117, in page 18, line 37, at end insert:(4) Nothing in the provisions of this part of this Schedule shall make it unlawful for an employer, at a time when an order giving effect to wages regulation proposals has been made after a period of postponement, to pay any sum in respect of remuneration for employment at an earlier time.
§ Mr. Mikardo
Amendment No. 114 would apply to that part of the Schedule which relates to wages councils and Amendment No. 117 would apply to agricultural wages orders. The other two Amendments, in the name of the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley), seem to have similar effects.
I move this Amendment in almost interrogative terms, because the wording of the Schedule is extremely complicated and for anyone who is not an absolute expert almost impossible to follow. I confess my ignorance at once. It is not clear in the wording whether or not the Schedule as drafted gives the Minister powers in respect of wages council workers which he has not got in respect of other groups of workers to prevent backdating of a settlement reached as a result of negotiations. It is not clear to me whether that situation is so or not.
My hon. Friends and I have put forward this Amendment on the belt and braces principle of making assurance doubly sure and spelling out in terms our absolute opposition to any situation which might arise, if it could arise, under the Bill in which wages council workers were not only brought into the Bill for the first time, as was said in the small hours of this morning, but in a way which dis- 842 advantaged them under the legislation even by comparison with all other workers. In considering the Schedule in general—I am sure this goes for other hon. Members—I have had in mind that we are here talking about the determinations of responsible tripartite bodies.
We are not dealing with a situation in which a small and particularly militant group of workers impose their will on a reluctant but weak or specially vulnerable employer and as a result get away with an absolutely outrageous wages settlement. We are here dealing with the determination of a body on which both sides of an industry are represented and with independent members to hold the balance. Although in general those independent members do not operate when the two sides of the council agree, it is not the case that bodies of this sort make wildly generous wage settlements. If that were so, these wages councils would not be covering the overwhelming majority, practically the whole, of the low paid male workers of the country. So we have this bit of tenderness in mind about these bodies.
I am not clear about the wording of the Schedule. If it is a fact that workers covered by the Schedule would be dis-advantaged in this way by a prohibition of back dating to the extent that other workers are not, my hon. Friends would have to oppose that to the absolute limit of the powers open to us. I hope that we shall receive such explanations and assurances from my hon. Friend the Under Secretary as will make is unecessary for us to carry out that sort of action. I hope so very much indeed.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)
I wish to say a few words about the Amendments in my name. They are similar to those in the name of the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo), but they are not exactly the same. I think they go a little further than the proposal he has put forward. Like his Amendments, they relate first to wages councils' orders and, secondly, to agricultural wages orders. These wages councils and agricultural wages boards were first set up in order to prevent wages in those industries being too low. They were set up in an attempt to establish minimum wages in those industries where traditionally, and for economic reasons which we 843 need not go into now, there had always been a tendency for far too low wages to be paid.
We have here a form of governmental institution designed to keep wages up to a minimum. A paradox in the Schedule is that the Government are trying to use a minimum control to enforce a maximum, because the point of the Schedule is to stop wages going up. This is a contradiction in terms because the minimum wages apply only to the lowest paid. Therefore, if it is simply said that they may not raise the minimum there is no prohibition whatever on employers paying more even though the minimum is not allowed to be raised. The effect of making an order under an agricultural wages council is to raise the minimum by which farmers can employ farm workers, but, if no such order is made, so far as I read the Schedule the effect of the Minister exercising his rights would be no reason why any farmer should not pay as much as the agricultural wages board suggested, or even more, because these orders are minimum orders.
The hon. Member for Poplar suggested that when an order runs out or when the delaying power of the Minister runs out and a wages council order can come into force, there should be nothing to stop the employees claiming and receiving that which they have lost retrospectively through the action of the control. I go further and say that there is nothing to stop them claiming and receiving that which they have been denied through the currency of the order because the order only prevents the minimum being raised. Incidentally, this makes absolute nonsense of the main ground of defence used by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Spark-brook (Mr. Hattersley) for the inclusion of these low paid workers in the control.
The hon. Getleman said over and over again that just because there are some poor farm workers or some low wage people in wages councils award areas that does not mean that they should all be given a rise. It would be quite inconsistent for wages councils to be able to make up awards to farm workers, some of whom are getting £20 and £30 a week. All that an agricultural wages board can do is to lift the minimum wages. Therefore, if an agricultural wages order were made it would have the effect of lifting 844 the minimum wage for the lower paid and would benefit only the lower paid. It would have no effect on the higher paid unless the differentials were maintained. By a purely legal definition it would benefit only those on the minimum rates.
If this is correct it should be emphasised that the Bill exercises no control whatever upon farmers or industrial employers who wish to pay more, and who can and do pay more, where an order has been made or a wages council award confirmed as a result of the Bill. If that is so, it is for the convenience of employers and employees that it should be written into the Bill, because everybody would know that the Bill only stops the minima from being raised—in other words, it is a direct attack upon the lower-paid workers—and has no effect to prevent anybody covered by a wages council order from being paid more.
If that is so, I hope that the Government will accept the Amendments, which make it abundantly clear that, not only retrospective pay as proposed by the hon. Gentleman, but also any increase which comes to the mind of employers, is reasonable, provided that there is not some other way in which the Government invoke the policy to destroy it. There is an area of anomaly here which the Under-Secretary should clear up.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (Mr. Roy Hattersley)
On what I suspect is either the last, or very nearly the last, occasion on which I address the House on the Bill, it gives me real pleasure to say that the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) understands a part of the Bill. The conclusions he drew from it were wildly wrong, but the interpretation he put on the powers we seek to take over wages councils and the Agricultural Wages Board were absolutely right.
Clause 5 and Schedule 2 seek to do no more than provide my right hon. Friend, or the appropriate Minister, with the opportunity of preventing or at least postponing a wages regulation order from having its effect that the new minimum rate stipulated by the Board should be legally enforceable. Clause 5 and Schedule 2 seek to do no more than that.
The hon. Gentleman is wrong to conclude that, because Clause 5 and Schedule 845 2 seek to do no more than that, they seek specifically and intentionally to hit at the very lowest paid, for any analysis whatsoever of the movement of wages council rates will show the hon. Gentleman that, when the legal minimum is increased, the increase does not go simply to those who are actually on the legal minimum, for they are very few indeed. It reflects itself in the pay of the majority in each industry whose wage basis is the legal minimum and on top of which legal minimum they receive a number of bonus payments or what are called, I understand, enhancements, which, make their take-home pay far above the legal minimum.
The intention of Clause 5 and of this Schedule is to have some surveillance over those who, whilst not on the legal minimum rate, are affected by it and whose wages, although very substantially greater than the legal minimum rate, in fact move at about the same rate and at about the same amount when the legal minimum is increased.
Having said that, I once again confirm that the hon. Gentleman is right. All that we seek to do by Clause 5 and Schedule 2 is to postpone the legal en-forceability of a wages council order. This means that individual groups, companies, unions—individuals themselves— can, within an industry for which a wages council order has been postponed, negotiate with management; and they may well obtain a wage increase, although it will not be a statutorily required wage increase.
Were we to find that situation and were we to believe that it was outside the terms of the policy, and were we to wish to postpone it, all that we could do would be to make an order of a different sort under Clause 2 or Clause 3. I have to say to the House in a moment of frankness that that does not seem to me to be a very likely eventuality, but I also have to say that, if we wanted to postpone a payment, the way it would be done would be under Clauses 2 and 3. Clause 5 and Schedule 2 aim to do no more than the hon. Gentleman says, which is to postpone the operation of the legal minimum as stipulated by a wages council.
That point is the central issue when I turn to the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo); for I, like him, would regard 846 it as indefensible were the Bill to impose on the employees in wages council industries disciplines more rigorous than those imposed on the economy as a whole. My hon. Friend will, I think, conclude that, if the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury is right and wage increases as a fact rather than as a legally enforceable requirement can go on, even during the operation of an order under Clause 5 and Schedule 2, the same rules as govern employees in other industries in the matter of retrospection must govern employees in wages council industries.
This means that, whilst my right hon. Friend and the Government disapprove —I can use no other word—of retrospection, whilst we believe that, as we made clear in the White Paper, the establishment of retrospection as a general rule would certainly be against the nation's economic interests and would erode the purpose and value of a prices and incomes policy, it is not our intention to make retrospection illegal. Since the operation of an order postponing wage increases, postponing the literal increase rather than postponing the operation of the legal minimum, must operate for wages council industries in the same way that it operates for anybody else, retrospection is no more illegal for them than it is for anybody else.
Having said that, I must say again, for I would be deluding the House were I to say anything other than this, that our disapproval of retrospection means that we hope that when there is postponement in this sector retrospection will not apply. We hope that it will not apply, but the distinction between hoping that it will not apply and preventing it from applying is, I believe, total. I at least confirm that the Bill as it stands puts no legal bar on retrospection for these industries.
Although we think that that would not be a wise or sensible economic thing to happen, if my hon. Friend the Member for Poplar simply wants me to say again that the provisions in Clause 5 and in Schedule 2 affecting wages council industries do not disadvantage wages council employees as opposed to other groups of workers, inasmuch as retrospection and all that it means in the White Paper and stands for in the Bill applies equally in both sectors, then that is certainly the 847 position and I am pleased to confirm it for him.
§ Mr. Peter Emery (Honiton)
I have always thought that the Government have been foolishly short-sighted and crassly negligent in the way that they have attempted, and are attempting in the Bill, to take powers to limit the wage increases of the lowest-paid section of workers. All that my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) seeks to do in Amendment No. 132 is to ensure that nothing can take place by the Schedule which would stop increases of pay from being given to agricultural workers if that could be done under an agricultural wages order.
The Government's argument is a terrifying piece of dialectic nonsense. Where an agricultural wages order has been made by the Agricultural Wages Board and where a standstill has been imposed by the Secretary of State, the Minister says that legally the bad employer need give no increase but the good employer will be able, by bonus or other payments, to increase the wages to the equivalent amount—in other words, get round the restriction which has been imposed by the Minister. If that is what the Government want to happen, it is foolish.
The point should be made crystal clear. Workers in agriculture are specially affected. In its Report No. 25, the National Board for Prices and Incomes said:We recommend that it is in the interests of the industry and the country that an adequate wage structure for agriculture should be negotiated at the earliest possible date.We are trying to ensure that no restriction can be made by the Minister which would stop that development.
The National Board for Prices and Incomes makes clear that the average weekly earnings of agricultural workers are lower than those of workers in any other industry for which figures are available. Average hourly earnings, we are told, are well below those anywhere else and the concentration of low-paid workers is higher than anywhere else. That is evidenced by the statistic that 86 per cent. of agricultural workers have about £2 5s. less in average weekly earnings than the general body of workers. 848 Of the 14 per cent. remaining, who are not sub-divided, it is suggested that no more than 5 per cent. are above the average earnings of workers in the country as a whole.
§ Mr. Peter M. Jackson (The High Peak)
I do not know where the hon. Gentleman finds his figures, but they are not correct. Figures which I gave in the debate last night show an even more startling difference between the average earnings of male workers in manufacturing and those of male workers in agriculture. I speak from memory, but I think that the figures which I gave are these: average weekly earnings at March, 1967 of workers in manufacturing were £20 15s.; in agriculture they were £14 16s. Thus, the difference is not £2 but is nearer £6.
§ Mr. Emery
I was taking the top end of the 86 per cent. While the hon. Gentleman was making his point, I took the opportunity to check the figures in the Board's report. We find that 85.5 of all agricultural workers 'are earning less than 359s. 11d. a week. The national average of weekly earnings for men in all industries, not just manufacturing, is given as £20 5s. That is the right sort of reference.
These are terrifying figures, yet the Government are doing nothing to encourage the breaking of these low levels of earnings. It is imperative that we take the Amendment to a Division.
If the Minister's argument is right, what is the point of Schedule 2? Where does it fit in? We want no restrictions in the Schedule which would stop an agricultural worker receiving more than the minimum. Although it is true that the Minister could stop the minimum being legally enforceable, the only one to benefit from that would be the bad employer, and I want nothing to go out from this side of the House suggesting that that is the sort of person which the Conservative Party would wish to protect in any way.
The whole principle of the Bill is wrong, but the Government are getting it through by their steamroller majority, although it slipped a good deal last night down to 18, 21 and 22, and without any Liberal support for the Government. This is the very last moment when we can make an effort to correct what the 849 Government are doing. It is good that our concern at this point should be for the lowest-paid worker, the agricultural worker. We are trying to ensure that some protection is given to him which is not, unfortunately, given to other people in the Bill as a whole.
§ Mr. Mikardo
In view of the statement and assurance given by my hon. Friend:he Under-Secretary on the precise point of the Amendment which I moved, than which nothing could have been clearer or fairer and for which I thank him, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If leave is given to withdraw the Amendment, would it be possible for the Opposition formally to move and take to a Division one of their Amendments in the same section?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Eric Fletcher)
No, that would not be possible.
The Question which I must now put to the House is, "Is it your pleasure that the Amendment be withdrawn?"
§ Hon. Members: No.
§ Mr. R. Carr
This took us somewhat by surprise, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I assure you that I shall not make a long speech, but there are one or two matters which must be put to the Minister. I make no complaint about his having intervened at an early stage to deal principally, though not entirely, with the points raised by the Amendment put down by his hon. Friends.
My hon. Friend the Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery) raised one point which calls for answer. He said that the provisions which the Government ask us to accept mean that whereas the good employer—he instanced the case of agriculture—would be left free to pay his workers as he thought right, by productivity payments and so on, of which we all approve, the bad employer would have no pressure put on him to pay what he ought to pay. If that is right, the Government have some more explaining to do. The point made by my hon. Friend ought not to pass without confirmation or denial, and, if confirmation, some serious comment from the Government.
850 In his reply, the Under-Secretary of State used some extraordinary phraseology. He said—I took a note of his words—that the provision which we are discussing does no more than give the Minister power to prevent a wages council order having its intended legislative effect. Those were his words—"does no more than give a Minister power to prevent"—as though it were almost nothing. It shows the cast of mind and habit of thinking and feeling to which three years of compulsion bring people.
It is not a small thing to take power to prevent something having the long-established legislative effect which the House intended it to have. All that the Minister can say as we draw near the end of the debate on the third annual Prices and Incomes Bill is that when the Government intervene by force they are doing no more than giving the Minister power to prevent something having its intended legislative effect. I am sure that that is not the hon. Gentleman's natural way of thinking, and I do not want to drive this criticism home at him personally. But the House should take note of it, because it indicates the habit and cast of mind and thinking into which compulsory legislation extended over a number of years is inclined to bring one.
I should like to draw attention to the hon. Gentleman's reply about retrospection. He very honestly told his hon. Friend that while retrospective payment was certainly not illegal, and the Government did not intend to make it illegal, he hoped that people would not indulge in it. He hoped that when they suffered from a delaying power they would accept it, and that when it was at an end they would not undo the economic good to the nation, as the Government see it, by using their legal right to retrospective payment. The hon. Gentleman drew a strange distinction between hoping and preventing, yet, in terms of release of purchasing power into the economy, retrospective payment could undo all the good that the Government are trying to achieve, certainly in macro-economic terms. It is odd that there should be a contrast between the Government's lack of will to take power to prevent retrospective payment and their utter obstinacy in insisting on taking power to delay the implementation of freely negotiated 851 settlements. Where is the consistency between those two attitudes?
I should like to end what is probably my last speech, as the hon. Gentleman's was probably his last, on the detailed consideration of the Bill, with this thought: if only the Government would import hope, influence and persuasion into a genuine attempt to build up volun-
§ tary methods in achieving sensible wage settlements, and not only into preventing retrospection, we might all get much further much quicker. Everybody would be happier, and the country would be more prosperous.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made:
§ The House divided: Ayes 227, Noes 303.855
|Division No. 254.]||AYES||[5.13 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Maddan, Martin|
|Astor, John||Glover, Sir Douglas||Maginnis, John E.|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Glyn, Sir Richard||Marten, Neil|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Maude, Angus|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Goodhart, Philip||Mawby, Ray|
|Balniel, Lord||Goodhew, Victor||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Batsford, Brian||Cower, Raymond||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S.L.C.|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Grant, Anthony||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Bell, Ronald||Grant-Ferris, R.||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Grieve, Percy||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Gurden, Harold||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Biffen, John||Hall, John (Wycombe)||More, Jasper|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir charles|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Blaker, Peter||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Murton, Oscar|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Nicholls, sir Harmer|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michaele|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Nott, John|
|Braine, Bernard||Hastings, Stephen||Onslow Cranley|
|Brewis, John||Hawkins, Paul||Orr, Capt. L.P.S.|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hay, John||Orr-Ewing, Sir lan|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Higgins, Terence L.||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.)||Hiley, Joseph||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hill, J.E.B.||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Hirst, Geoffrey||Peel, John|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Percival, lan|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Holland, Philip||Peyton, JOhn|
|Clegg, walter||Hordern, Peter||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Cooke, Robert||Hornby, Richard|
|Cooper-Key, Sir NeilI||Howell, David (Guildford)||Pink R. Bonner|
|Cordle, John||Hunt, John||Pounder, Rafton|
|corfield, F. V.||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Powell Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Costain, A. P.||Iremonger, T. L.||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Rym, Francis|
|Crouch, David||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Crowder, F. P.||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Crinstead)||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Jopling, Michael||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Dance, James||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||Kershaw, Anthony||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Kimball, Marcus||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Doughty, Charles||Kirk, Peter||Royle, Anthony|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Russell, Sir Ronafd|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Lane, David||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Eden, Sir John||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Scott, Nicholas|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Legee-Bourke, Sir Harry||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Eyre, Reginald||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Sharples, Richard|
|Farr, John||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Silvester, Frederick|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Longden, Gilbert||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Fortescue, Tim||Loveys, W. H.||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Foster, Sir John||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Speed, Keith|
|Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh (St' fford & Stone)||MacArthur, Ian||Stainton, Keith|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Stodart, Anthony|
|Gibson-watt, David||Macleod, Rt. H. lain||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)|
|Giles, Rear-Adm. Morgan||McMaster, Stanley||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Walker, Peter (Worcester)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Wall, Patrick||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Teeling, Sir William||Walters, Dennis||Worsley, Marcus|
|Temple, John M.||Ward, Dame Irene||Wylie, N. R.|
|Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret||Weatherill, Bernard||Younger, Hn. George|
|Tilney, John||Webster, David|
|Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.||Wells, John (Maidstone)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|van Straubenzee, W. R.||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William||Mr. Timothy Kitson and|
|Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Williams, Donald (Dudley)||Mr. Hector Monro.|
|Vickers, Dame Joan||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Albu, Austen||Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Jones,Rt.Hn.SirElwyn(W.Ham,S.)|
|Alldritt, Walter||Eadie, Alex||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Allen, Scholefield||Edelman, Maurice||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)|
|Anderson, Donald||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Judd, Frank|
|Archer, Peter||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Kelley, Richard|
|Ashley, Jack||Ellis, John||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||English, Michael||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Ennals, David||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Ensor, David||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)|
|Barnes, Michael||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Lawson, George|
|Barnett, Joel||Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Bence, Cyril||Fernyhough, E.||Ledger, Ron|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Foley, Maurice||Lee, John (Reading)|
|Bishop, E. S.||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)|
|Blackburn, F.||Ford, Ben||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Forrester, John||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Fowler, Gerry||Lipton, Marcus|
|Booth, Albert||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Boston, Terence||Freeson, Reginald||Loughlin, Charles|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Gardner, Tony||Luard, Evan|
|Boyden, James||Garrett, W. E.||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Ginsburg, David||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Bradley, Tom||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||McBride, Neil|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Gourlay, Harry||McCann, John|
|Brooks, Edwin||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||MacColl, James|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||MacDermot, Niall|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Macdonald, A. H.|
|Brown,Bob(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.)||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||McGuire, Michael|
|Brown, R. w. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||McKay, Mrs. Margaret|
|Buchan, Norman||Gunter Rt. Hn. R. J.||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mackie, John|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, c.)||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mackintosh, John p.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hamling, William||Maclennan, Robert|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hannan, William||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Cant, R. B.||Harper, Joseph||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Carmichael, Neil||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
|Cattle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Haseldine, Norman||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)|
|Chapman, Donald||Hattersley, Roy||Mallalieu,J.P.W.(Huddersfield,E.)|
|Coe, Denis||Hazell, Bert||Manuel, Archie|
|Coleman, Donald||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Marks, Kenneth|
|Concannon, J. D.||Heffer, Eric S.||Marquand, David|
|Conlan, Bernard||Henig, Stanley||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hilton, W. S.||Maxwell, Robert|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Cronin, John||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Crostand, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Dalyell, Tam||Howie, W.||Millan, Bruce|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Hoy, James||Miller, Dr. M. s.|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Huckfield, Leslie||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)||Molloy, William|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Moonman, Eric|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Hunter, Adam||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Hynd, John||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Delargy, Hugh||Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Dell, Edmund||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Dempsey, James||Janner, sir Barnett||Moyle, Roland|
|Dewar, Donald||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Dickens, James||Jeger, George (Goole)||Murray, Albert|
|Dobson, Ray||Jeger,Mrs.Lena(H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.)||Neal, Harold|
|Doig, Peter||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Newens, Stan|
|Driberg, Tom||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Noel-Baker, Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby, S.)|
|Dunn, James A.||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Oakes, Gordon|
|Dunnett, Jack||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull W.)||Ogden, Eric|
|O'Malley, Brian||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)||Tuck, Raphael|
|Oram, Albert E.||Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Orme, Stanley||Roebuck, Roy||Varley, Eric G.|
|Oswald, Thomas||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Owen, Or. David (Plymouth, S'tn)||Rose, Paul||Walker. Peter (Worcester)|
|Page, Derek (King's Lynn)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William||Wallace, George|
|Palmer, Arthur||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Panned, Rt. Hn. Charles||Ryan, John||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Park, Trevor||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)||Weitzman, David|
|Parker, John (Dagenham)||Sheldon, Robert||Wellbeloved, James|
|Parkin, Ben (Paddington, N.)||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Whitaker, Ben|
|Pavitt, Laurence||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N. E.)||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Whitlock, William|
|Pentland, Norman||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.||Skeffington, Arthur||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)||Slater, Joseph||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)||Small, William||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Price, William (Rugby)||Snow, Julian||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Probert, Arthur||Spriggs, Leslie||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Randall, Harry||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Rankin, John||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Rees, Merlyn||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John||Winnick, David|
|Reynolds, Rt. Hn. G. W.||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Rhodes, Geoffrey||Swingler, Stephen||Woof, Robert|
|Richard, Ivor||Symonds, J. B.||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Taverne, Dick||Yates, Victor|
|Roberts, Rt. Hn. Coronwy (C'narv'n)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George|
|Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)||Thomson, Rt. Hn. George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Robertson, John (Paisley)||Thornton, Ernest||Mr. Ernest Armstrong and|
|Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St.P'c'as)||Tinn, James||Mr. Charles Grey.|
§ 5.24 p.m.
§ The First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (Mrs. Barbara Castle)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
We have reached the end of an exhaustive and exhausting examination of the Bill both in Committee and on Report. During these days every facet has been dealt with in detail and I do not want to go over the old ground at this stage but merely to answer the question of why we consider this legislation necessary. I say to my hon. Friends that the Government would hardly have gone through the tensions and strains of the past few days if we did not believe that the Bill had a vital part to play in our economic strategy.
The Government's post-devaluation strategy was made clear at the time of the Budget. It is designed to ensure that this country preserves and exploits to the full the benefits which devaluation can bring but will bring only if we maintain our international competitiveness by keeping down costs. We all know that a successful policy for growth depends upon our mastering our balance of payments difficulties and devaluation as an aid to growth will simply not work if its effects are eroded by rises in costs.
Nothing that has happened since the Budget in any way reduces the need for 856 the powers in the Bill or for the firm policy that these powers are designed to underpin. There is much that is encouraging about the outlook for our exports, but the slow improvement in our external position and the strong pressures for wage increases which are now apparent on every side underline the vital importance of a successful productivity, prices and incomes policy in retaining our international competitiveness.
I want to pay tribute to my hon. Friends who have loyally supported the Government in getting the Bill through, despite the taunts of hon. Members opposite and despite their own doubts and anxieties. I say to them that this Bill is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end whose whole purpose is not restrictive but positive. This legislation merely holds the ring while we restructure, reshaps and modernise British industry to secure a high wage, high productivity, low cost economy which will bring the opportunity not merely of higher incomes for the individual but the opportunity and the prospect of a continuous advance in our national economic growth.
I say also to my hon. Friends that the limited powers which the Government will have secured even when this legislation is passed are only meaningful in the context of an essentially voluntary policy. I have said—and I cannot reiterate it too often—that everything in 857 the Bill, whether old or new, is essentially a statutory reserve power for use only in support of the voluntary system. It is in essence what I might term "safety belt legislation". It is solely for use in emergency when there is a breakdown in the vast amount of voluntary co-operation which goes on, day in and day out, regardless of any statutory rules or statutory framework.
But we know full well that we shall only get this voluntary co-operation if the policy is seen to be not only positive in itself but fair to all sections of the community. It is for this reason that we have taken in the Bill the extended and strengthened powers over prices. It is for this reason that, at a time when the individual as a whole is not finding things easy because of the combined effects of devaluation, the Budget and the public sector price increases, we should not allow rents, which account for such a large proportion of individual incomes, to be increased sharply and so disrupt finely balanced family budgets. It is for this reason that we are asking for reserve legislation on company distributions. It is for this reason that we stress that the incomes policy applies just as much to salary increases and to all forms of income increases as to wage increases.
Much has been said about the duration of the policy. In our debates hon. Members have commented on the fact that the Government are taking powers until the end of 1969, for 18 months, and some rather interesting interpretations have been put on this. I assure hon. Members that there is nothing elaborate, contrived, sinister or pusillanimous about this. The decision to take these powers until the end of 1969 is based on our belief that the next 18 months will be the critical period for the realisation of the opportunities that devaluation has brought to the British economy.
In the autumn of 1969 we can take a new look to see what our circumstances and prospects then require or do not require. We will have the opportunity to review both our economic situation and the operation of the policy, and to take an informed decision in the light of both.
It is, therefore, true to say that the Bill is an act of faith—faith in the ability 858 of the British people to grasp the size and seriousness of the economic challenge which faces this country, faith in their willingness to co-operate in getting the economy strong again, faith in the potentialities for growth, if only we can get our priorities right, and faith in our capacity to adapt our industries, wage structures and methods of bargaining to meet modern needs. It is because the Bill can help us to all these ends that I ask hon. Members to give it a Third Reading.
§ 5.32 p.m.
§ Sir Cyril Osborne (Louth)
I find myself in rather a difficult position and I hope that hon. Members on both sides will give me a patient hearing while I state my case. I am greatly tempted to vote for the Bill—[Interruption.] I am on record, in Parliament, in the Press, on television and on radio, as being in favour of a prices and incomes policy. Indeed, I believe that if a Conservative Government were returned to power tomorrow morning they would have no option but to impose some sort of policy of this kind. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I ask hon. Gentlemen opposite to be patient while I state my case, and I appeal to them to give me a fair hearing.
The greatest restraint on incomes as well as on prices is vitally necessary if Britain is to survive in the next six months. There are three reasons for my holding this opinion. The first is that I ask those who say "No" to this policy to tell me how on earth they would prevent the cost of living from going through the roof unless there is some restraining on incomes and prices. If the cost of living were allowed to go through the roof, pensioners and others living on small fixed incomes—people for whom I have the greatest regard—would be the first to suffer.
Secondly, I remind hon. Members that War Loan, which is the premier Government security, has now dropped for the first time to below 46 per cent. If we are not careful, it will become a worthless piece of paper, and we must do everything possible to prevent that from happening. National Savings Certificates, deposits in building societies, investments in the Post Office Savings Bank and all forms of fixed interest-bearing investments will become worthless unless 859 there is a check such as the Bill imposes to prevent the cost of living from rising. I make this protest and appeal on behalf of those who save and have been thrifty.
The third reason is perhaps the most important. I appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite who may have doubts about what I am saying to bear in mind that I reckon that about five million jobs are directly—I stress "directly" and not indirectly—dependent on exports. If we had a complete free-from-all in wages and salaries, with all that would go with it, those five million jobs would be in jeopardy. We must, therefore, do everything we can to prevent the mass unemployment which many of us fear. These are, from my point of view, the three solid reasons why I would like to support the Bill.
I remind the House of something else that has happened today. The most alarming bit of news has just come over the tape. It is that sterling has dropped to its lowest ever level. The ugly shadow of a second devaluation is being cast across the exchanges. Whether or not the Government claim that they chose devaluation or whether or not, as we say, devaluation was forced on us, it would be a national disgrace and swindle for anyone to contemplate action of this kind a second time within a few months. Such action would be monstrous and—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman cannot range so wide in his remarks when we are debating the Third Reading of the Bill.
§ Sir C. Osborne
I am doing my best to explain why I find myself in the difficult position of wishing to support the Bill.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
The hon. Gentleman can do that, but on Third Reading his remarks must be confined to the contents of the Bill.
§ Sir C. Osborne
The Bill proposes, through certain penal Clauses, to restrict incomes and wages. I am saying that this is vitally necessary for a number of good reasons.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman must restrict his comments to the contents of the Bill.
§ Sir C. Osborne
I beg you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to allow me to take only a few seconds to explain how one cannot judge the validity of the Bill without looking at the world circumstances in which it is being produced.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
The hon. Gentleman may do that, as long as he relates his observations to the contents of the Bill.
§ Sir C. Osborne
The Bill is attempting to restore the financial health of Britain, and one of the indications of that health is the rate of Government credit. Another is the value of sterling. Unless we consider all these factors we cannot judge whether or not the Bill will help and I am stating why something like the Measure is vitally necessary.
The right hon. Lady considers that the Bill will help us to take advantage of the situation resulting from devaluation. She does not seem to realise the immense financial tragedy that may hit us in the next three to six months. Cecil King's warning was a mere nothing compared with what may happen, and that is why I say that a Measure of this kind is necessary, whichever party is in office. [Interruption.] This is a difficult enough speech to make without interruptions.
The Bill is an attempt to restore confidence in the economy, in sterling and in our financial institutions. At the beginning of this week I asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why he had drawn the last 1,400 million dollars of the I.M.F. loan. He replied that it was to fund the short-term debts which he could not repay. That shows the position in which we find ourselves. We are a bankrupt nation. [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] These short-term debts were owed to the central banks. Last Wednesday the right hon. Gentleman had to borrow 1,400 million dollars to bail us out of the dilemma. The Bill is necessary for the simple reason that for many years this nation has been living beyond its means, and it is an attempt to curb the incomes of us all—wages, salaries, rents and profits—and at the same time to allow the standard of living to increase.
§ Mr. Biffen
I believe that my hon. Friend speaks with great sincerity, but does he not reflect that, on Third Reading of the last legislation along these lines, the 1967 Prices and Incomes Act, it was presented as the legislation which would prevent devaluation. If that did not prevent devaluation, why does he think that this Bill will make devaluation work?
§ Sir C. Osborne
That is a fair question. My hon. Friend says that the Bill will not work. What I am asking is what alternative does the Chancellor have?— [An HON. MEMBER: "We could have a change of Government."] No, we could not have it for another two and a half years, because the present Government were elected by the law of the land to stay there until 1971. I beg hon. Members to face reality. Because of the tragedy which faces us—I am sorry that I cannot pursue this, because there are other factors which would justify far more than the right hon. Lady has given us—[Laughter.] It is not a giggling matter, even in Penistone. The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) should go home and tell the steel workers that he has giggled about this, when they are threatened with unemployment.
Our economic position is so desperately bad that something like this to restrain incomes and, I hope, prices, to get us back nearly level and living within our means is absolutely necessary—
§ Mr. J. J. Mendelson (Penistone)
I was merely suggesting that the hon. Gentleman should write a letter to the Daily Telegraph if he cannot make the point here.
§ Sir C. Osborne
I am obliged for the thought, which is by no means original.
On all the evidence, the Government have lost all moral authority to impose such a stern policy of austerity—[An HON. MEMBER: "Come, come."] For God's sake, listen. Whereas, in 1964, when he first came to power, the present Prime Minister might have done something like this, or in 1966, when he had a big majority, today he has not the support of the nation to do this. This is what in wrong. The evidence is in the by-election results, public opinion polls and the opinions expressed by hon. Members below the Gangway opposite. They have not the moral authority to 862 impose this austerity, which is needed to save us if we are to avoid a crisis—
§ Mr. Ron Lewis (Carlisle)
Neither did the Conservatives have the moral authority to impose Suez, but they did it.
§ Sir C. Osborne
I am not discussing that: it is irrelevant.
Because a very stern policy is needed and because the Government have not the authority to impose it and because I agree with hon. Members below the Gangway that it is monstrous for a Labour Government to threaten trade unionists who are demanding their traditional rights with imprisonment, I could not possibly vote for the Bill. The Tolpuddle Martyrs should come back and haunt the right hon. Lady for doing exactly what they protested so fiercely against.
The Prime Minister has been questioned many times recently about the Home Secretary's speech at Blackpool, when he said that a policy of this kind was absolutely necessary and that it must be voluntary. Hon. Members below the Gangway must face the fact that, if the T.U.C. will not allow the policy to be accepted voluntarily, some compulsion is necessary if it is to be achieved. This is the dilemma for us all, and because of that, I do not feel that I can vote for the Bill.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)
The general expectation was that this Ball, which has caused considerable controversy, would go out with a whimper, but apparently it is going out with a bang and is causing a split in the Tory Party. That is most regrettable. I should not be surprised to learn in the next 24 hours that the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) has had the Whip withdrawn; he might even be expelled. The Tory Party cannot allow this sort of thing to happen after all the fulminations from their Front Bench, the criticism and catisgation, the bitter and venomous attacks on my right hon. Friend the Minister. They cannot allow the hon. Member to get away with this. It is a reflection on the dignity of Parliament.
We have just listened to a most momentous announcement. The hon. Member for Louth is going to support the Bill— [An HON. MEMBER: "No, he said that 863 he could not."]—well, he said so in the first part of his speech—[An HON. MEMBER: "Only in the first part."] This causes me grave doubts, but I must not be deflected from my purpose.
There was some frustration among hon. Members on this side on Second Reading when they objected to Privy Councillors monopolising the debates. In the debates this week, I have not been able to take part because I have been trying to soap the stairs for the Tory Party in Nelson and Colne. On Second Reading, I made my position clear. I accepted unreservedly and without qualifications the principle underlying the Bill, the purpose, the objective, the goal which the Government wish to reach, but I confessed that there were some sections of it to which I had some opposition, and that opposition remains.
But the Second Reading debate is over. Several of my colleagues and myself—or, rather, myself and several of my colleagues—abstained. I understand from my perusal of the OFFICIAL REPORT and the newspapers that several of my colleagues, on Report this week, expressed strong opposition to the penal Clauses and that some of them actually voted against the Government. What I should have done if I had been present, I am unable to say. A great deal depends on the nature of the debate and the arguments adduced.
Before I venture to tell the House what I propose to do at the end of the debate, I wish to say to my colleagues who have expressed strong opposition and resentment against the penal Clauses of the Bill that they have nothing to apologise for. That is my considered view. I believe, with long experience of trade unionism —this can be noted and used as an argument against myself and the Labour Party —that without the good will of the trade union movement the Labour Party might find it very difficult to retain its political authority in the country. I want no clash with the trade union movement. I have said this in private to Minister and I have said it in public. That was my purpose in abstaining on Second Reading.
This week, some of my hon. Friends voted against the Government and some of them abstained. The question is: what should we do now? All the arguments have been adduced. The Opposition have made their case. The remarkable feature 864 in this debate has been that the Opposition have opposed the Bill at almost all its stages, but, nevertheless, when in office, they were responsible for advocating a price and incomes policy. Why have they departed from that policy?
§ Mr. Shinwell
Someone is interrupting me from a sedentary position. Perhaps he would be good enough to rise to his feet to interrupt.
§ Sir E. Brown
Our sole reason was that we believed in a voluntary prices and incomes policy. What we object to is the introduction by the Government of a so-called voluntary policy alongside means of compulsion which might result in people being put in prison.
§ Mr. Shinwell
All this talk about a voluntary policy, coming from the Tory Party, with its history of condemnation of the trade union movement—
§ Mr. Biffen rose—
§ Mr. Shinwell
I will not speak long. I know that the hon. Gentleman is a great authority on almost everything—so I understand. I hope that I have described his reputation accurately and without offence. I wish to express my opinion in as few words as possible.
For anybody in the Tory Party to talk about continuing the voluntary system—-a free for all—is all very well. But let hon. Members opposite examine their history of condemnation of the trade union movement and of the activities of trade unions. I can remember the Osborne judgement. I can remember the Taff Vale dispute. I can remember the Trade Union (Amendment) Acts. I happen to have read the industrial history of this country and how the Tory Party created the combination laws. [An HON. MEMBER: "In the Bill?"] None of that is in this Bill.
Do not let us have any talk about a voluntary policy. It is a lot of hypocrisy. I cannot use the word "humbug" because I understand that it is an unparliamentary expression. I shall not 865 detain the House long. That will gratify hon. Members opposite. If I run into form, they will hear more castigation from my lips than they have heard for a long time. I had to listen the other day to the right hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr), who was leading for the Opposition. He has now left the Chamber. He bored the House stiff. I saw hon. and right hon. Members on the Opposition Front Bench going to sleep when he was speaking. Nobody goes to sleep when I am speaking.
I say what I am about to say with what sincerity I can command. "Sincerity" is a much abused term. I have listened occasionally to my right hon. Friend the First Secretary. I worried her a little on Second Reading because of my attitude. However, I must congratulate her on her fortitude. For a woman, she has stood up remarkably well. [Interruption.] That is a concession, is it not? I should not expect my hon. Friend the Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mrs. Anne Kerr) to say otherwise.
§ Mr. Shinwell
She is a sturdy representative of the female sex—and a very beautiful one, too. Coming from me at my time of life, that means something.
I have ventured to congratulate my right hon. Friend the First Secretary before. I have sometimes had doubts about colleagues associated with the Left wing becoming members of the Government. I have found in my experience that usually they try to escape from their youthful ideals. But I do not wish to discuss that matter; it is not in the Bill. Nevertheless, I congratulate my right hon. Friend. She has had to stand up to a lot of castigation, and she has done remarkably well.
We have had fun and games. The penal Clauses have been discussed with the utmost seriousness and gravity. We have had our say, and the Government have had to put up with it. We have nothing to apologise for. If we hold strong views, we should express them. I wish that there were more independence in the House, on both sides. That would not be a bad thing for Parliament. There is talk about Parliamentary reform. The 866 best Parliamentary reform would be to have Members who occasionally venture to express their views, despite the Whips. Therefore, as I say, my hon. Friends should not apologise. I applaud them for their activities.
Now that the Bill has gone through almost all its stages, we have to decide what to do. I venture to tell the House, with no pomposity nor in the expectation of a reward—no cups or medals are likely to be handed out as a result of what I say—that I shall vote for the Bill.
§ Mr. Shinwell
That is a little applause. I expected more. I have been working this up all week. While I was trying to think of speeches in Nelson and Colne, I thought about what I should do, because I was reading what was going on. All I get now is a little cheep from my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Roebuck).
§ Mr. Roebuck
I am sorry to hear that my right hon. Friend thinks that my cheer was a little cheep. I can cheer a great deal louder. I should have thought that a cheer from me was worth a whole series of cheers from hon. Members opposite.
§ Mr. Shinwell
There is a lot in that when I come to think about it. My hon. Friend does not, as a rule, compliment anybody.
I am grateful to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for allowing me to catch your eye. Having regard to all the circumstances, resentful as I have been all along about the penal Clauses going into the Bill, I want to say one more thing to my right hon. Friend. In the course of the debate my right hon. Friend told us that the voluntary system has worked very well and it is doubtful whether the penal Clauses will ever be implemented. My right hon. Friend said that these powers are merely to be kept in reserve. I hope that they will never be implemented. I hope that the trade union movement and employers alike will respond to the needs of the situation. I agree with the hon. Member for Louth about the desire to get the country on its feet. If the Bill helps us towards that goal and we reach our objective as a result, I shall be highly 867 gratified. It will be one of the best things that this Government have ever done. In the circumstances, I shall vote for the Bill.
§ 6.1 p.m.
§ Mr. John Biffen (Oswestry)
I should like to conform to the promise I gave to speak briefly. I want to speak very much in the spirit of a Third reading and to confine myself to one or two Clauses of the Bill. In particular, I refer to Clause 1 with its reference to Sections 7–22 of the Prices and Incomes Act, 1966. It was about that aspect of the Bill that we had what I think by common consent will be agreed was the most important of our debates during the Report stage. In its way it was a Parliamentary occasion. We had the Tory Party voting against the Treasury Bench, a number of Labour Members of Parliament voting against the Treasury Bench, the Welsh Nationalist voting against the Treasury Bench and the Scottish Nationalist voting against the Treasury Bench. This is extraordinary. What about the Liberals? What makes it so extraordinary is that discussing prices and incomes legislation is an annual occasion. When the penal Clauses were discussed last year the Liberals voted against the Government. So we shall look forward with great interest to the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Richard Wainwright) telling us what change has overcome Liberal economic thinking concerning penal Clauses which were unacceptable last year but which were not the subject of an adverse Liberal vote this year.
I thought that the hon. Member for Colne Valley had done ample homework on this matter. I refer the hon. Member to the debate which took place on 11th July, 1967. It is interesting to note that no Liberal took part in the debate. The votes are recorded in cols. 661–4, I will not go through the roll call of honour of those who were then the freedom fighters, except to mention affectionately the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock).
Why is Clause 1 to important?
§ Mr. Richard Wainwright (Colne Valley)
Is the hon. Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen) trying to deny that the Left-wing Amendment on Tuesday night sought to remove from the Bill the whole 868 of the Clause relating to incomes? Is the hon. Member pretending that this was solely the one Clause which dealt with penalties?
§ Mr. Biffen
No. I accept the distinction. I will be grateful to have the hon. Gentleman elaborate, if he can, within the disciplines of a Third Reading debate why he or any of his hon. Friends did not attempt to place on the Notice Paper their own Amendment seeking to exclude just that Clause relating to the penal provisions and not those sections of the Bill which, among other things, included the penal provisions. The penal provisions lie at the heart of those Clauses. By far the most important part of the Bill is that relating to the penal provisions. Without the penal provisions it becomes an exercise in Government sermonising and, therefore, much less offensive to those who value liberty.
Clause 1 of the Bill is vital, as are Sections 7 to 22 of the Prices and Incomes Act, 1966, to which it refers. It is this provision which has the capacity for providing a continuing statutory regulation of prices and incomes. We need to know much more clearly and categorically than we have so far been told what is the concept of a voluntary policy in relation to the provisions contained in that Clause.
For example, the right hon. Lady this afternoon talked about holding the reins. Does the right hon. Lady regard these Clauses as essential for holding the reins? The right hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman), whose present occupation I have temporarily forgotten, once talked about long-stop provisions. One can use all kinds of metaphors, but basically these were the reserve statutory powers. Are they to be continued as a perpetual part of the supposedly voluntary policy? This afternoon the right hon. Lady qualified "voluntary" by the word "essentially". These are not small matters of semantics. When the 1966 legislation was introduced, it was never then suggested that this was a necessary statutory requirement for what would 869 otherwise be called a voluntary policy. Any Minister who advocated that at that time would have been laughed out of court. He might even have been voted out by hon. Members opposite below the Gangway who have shown in this debate, as in previous debates, that they are not the paper tigers that they are sometimes thought to be.
We need a clear and categoric assurance on this matter, because it is very much in vogue to talk about the Government evolving towards a voluntary incomes policy. I used to think this was medieval economics or scholastic economics. I realise that I am wrong. It is Darwinian economics; it is the economics of evolution. We are told that this policy is evolving. Is it evolving to a situation where the Government wish to have the powers contained in Clause 1 because they think they can voluntarily proceed without them? Many hon. Members have clearly stated that they do not believe this Government could ever have an incomes policy without those statutory powers. I would not be doing a disservice to the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Lomas) if I said that he probably thought this was going to be a continuing necessity. I am certain that hon. Members not in their places—
§ Mr. Kenneth Lomas (Huddersfield, West)rose—
§ Mr. Biffen
I will give way in a moment. I do not think we shall have an opportunity of hearing the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Henig) or the hon. Member for York (Mr. Alexander W. Lyon), although they have both talked about prices and incomes legislation. I gained the impression that both those hon. Gentlemen wanted this residual statutory power, as it were, as a permanent feature of Government incomes policy.
§ Mr. Lomas
My feelings about this have been expressed many times. I believe that the over-riding necessity is to get the country's economy right, and the Bill is a vital part of that process. Therefore, the penal Clauses, or perhaps I should say the long stop-powers which the Government have to stop people taking more than they are entitled to are necessary. I also believe that once the economy is right, and once we have a redistribution of income in some sense these legal powers can go and we can 870 work successfully on a voluntary incomes policy.
§ Mr. Biffen
That is a fascinating revelation as of this time, but tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow this is a policy which in statutory terms is evolving into eternity. The hon. Gentleman speaks with optimism, but this was the legislation to promote growth, to avoid unemployment, and to avoid devaluation. This was the legislation to make devaluation work. There will always be excuses for this legislation. There will always be excuses for the powers contained in Clause 1. At least, that has been our experience so far. Maybe a change will come about.
Of course the whole question of evolution is essential in this debate, because we know that under Clauses 2 and 13 the Measure is to expire at the end of 1969. We also know that in the view of the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. George Brown) the Government were unwise not to have this Bill continued under the expiring laws continuance legislation. This ought, therefore, to be a warning. When we have the Home Secretary talking about the necessity for a voluntary policy, the Prime Minister talking about the necessity for a voluntary policy, and the right hon. Lady herself talking about the desirability of such a policy, the real question turns on whether the voluntary policy they foresee will still require Sections 13 to 22 of the 1966 Act, which are reinforced by and contained in Clause 1. That was the question addressed to the right hon. Lady on 25th June and that was the question to which her instantaneous, and I think understandable, reply was:It will be better if I do not give way because I am trying to evolve an argument."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th June, 1968; Vol. 767, c. 392.1We allowed the right hon. Lady to evolve an argument, but it did not evolve an answer, and it is the answer more than anything else which I hope we will get during the wind-up of this debate.
§ 6.12 p.m.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
I think it was Blackstone who once observed that a sovereign Parliament could do anything but turn a man into a woman or vice versa. I extend that and for the same reason say that Parliament cannot regulate prices and wages within an economy regulated by supply and 871 demand, because it is contrary to the nature of that economy.
If there is a price system, that is, an economy which is regulated by prices, one cannot proceed to regulate the regulator. I believe that to be the experience of 1,000 years of economy. If someone proceeds to control the price of wheat, all that he does is to innate the price of everything else, because no change is made in the total spending power available. All that he does is to distort his price system and discourage the production and distribution of wheat. The end position is worse than the first.
It is equally a fallacy that low prices produce savings or investment. They never do, and least of all at a time such as the present when people have lost confidence in the value of money. If it is not possible to control prices within this system—and I am sure that it is not— it is equally absurd to say that wages can be fixed, because if one tries a Statute of Labourers and fixes wages, one is ordering employers to pay less than they wish to pay. That does not lower labour costs; it increases them.
Employers do not wish to pay more for fun. They wish to pay more because they believe that a higher payment will give them a better return. In other words, it will give them better productivity. If employers are condemned to a fixed wage system, they are equally condemned to accept lower productivity, and that is the trouble with the Bill. High wages are the secret of efficiency. If a man has to pay high wages, he cannot afford to have obsolete equipment. He cannot afford inefficient management. High wages impose efficiency on him.
I have been on the edges of farming for about 30 years. I have seen farm wages multiplying by five, and I have seen farm labour costs fall throughout that period. High wages have imposed astonishing efficiency on the agriculture industry throughout the period.
§ Mr. Paget
Yes, but it is high wages which impose the mechanisation.
Let us consider the American experience. American wages are twice, or even three times as high as ours, but 872 their labour costs are generally lower than ours because they manage their labour to produce two or three times what ours produces, and it is this, the efficiency factor, within this system which the Bill tries to tie up.
That does not mean that the Government cannot control many things. They can control spending power through the Budget, and they can and should control it at a level which will bring a constant increase in general productivity. They can control the exchange rate, and thereby the relative margins of profits on exports and imports, and if they forgot about prestige they could do that to balance our payments. They can control sterling and stop it being used as a gambling currency by other people. Who ever heard of the Russians being forced into unemployment because of a run on the rouble? If one manages one's currency for the purposes of exchange, one does not have to submit to this sort of nonsense. The Government can also manage interest rates. At present these are more or less controlled by the necessity to attract money here to support the pound. They are controlled at levels of about 8 per cent. This would be intolerable without a 5 per cent. inflation, and so one has these interest rates imposing inflation. That is what the Government can control but will not. Instead, they try to control things which they cannot control within this system.
If one wishes to regulate prices and wages, it is not possible to have prices and wages as the regulator of one's economy. There must be the rationing, and there must be direction of labour. If the economy is regulated in that way, it is possible to regulate prices and wages. It is not possible to regulate wages and prices and then use those prices and wages to regulate the economy. That is the basic lesson and the basic fallacy. This is simple logic.
I am not opposed to the Bill merely because it is a piece of nonsense. I am much more opposed to it, and this is the grave reason, because it is an act of profoundly bad faith. I am not all that interested in the fate of this Government. I am interested in the fate of the Labour Party. If they kick from under them the support of the trade union movement there will not be a Labour Party, and this is what they are 873 doing. I am interested, too, in Parliamentary Government. I think it is profoundly important. If the trade union movement can no longer trust its Parliamentary representatives, if it is betrayed by its Parliamentary representatives, this will lead to unparliamentary methods. In May, the march of the dockers on the House chanting "Up Enoch" was a profoundly disturbing phenomenon.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. Will the hon. Gentleman link what he has to say with the Third Reading of the Prices and Incomes Bill?
§ Mr. Paget
Mr. Speaker, I will seek to do so. I was saying that I was opposed to the Bill because I believe that it is a breach of faith that goes to the roots of our economic policy. This is a blow at trade unions. It includes the penal sanction against the trade unions. Parliamentary Government works by a system of representation of interests. If the interests find themselves betrayed, as they do in this Bill, by the representatives whom they send to Parliament, then the Parliamentary system will break down. I believe this to be the real danger of the Bill, and I believe that it is one which we shall experience in future.
§ 6.21 p.m.
§ Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)
I hope that I shall not embarrass the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) if I say that he spoke for many people not only in different parts of the House but in many parts of the country. What he said will, I hope, command a wide area of support.
The speech made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) was, even by his standards, a remarkable one. He adopted his usual tactic of hurling some noisy but more or less harmless fire-crackers at my hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen), got in one or two digs at Ministers and then suddenly departed from character. He paid court to his right hon. Friend on the Front Bench and congratulated her, I think quite rightly, upon her fortitude. He did not congratulate her upon her judgment any more than I can. I would agree with him that the right hon. Lady has shown great courage, one might call it audacity, 874 at times during the handling of the Bill, but I wish that I could say something for her judgment in introducing it. The authorship of the Bill earns her nothing for judgment.
The right hon. Gentleman in a piece of characteristic autobiography described himself as a great lover of independence. He said that it would be a good thing if people in the House were more independent. He expressed himself as being bitterly resentful, as always, of the Bill and the contents of it. Then, astonishingly, he declared it was his intention, conceived in Nelson and Colne, to vote for the Bill.
With that I shall leave the right hon. Gentleman and remind the House of one pithy line spoken by the right hon. Lady in moving the Third Reading. She described this as safety-belt legislation, not inappropriately, since safety belts are put on when one is anticipating an accident, although I do not believe that this legislation will act as an effective safety belt.
I remind the House of what I said during the Second Reading debate on the 1966 Bill, for which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. George Brown) was responsible. Having previously teetered up to the edge of resignation, he then sponsored the Bill himself. I put to him—he did not of course reply —that Governments are human and, having taken a step down a road which was wrong and bad, would not admit that they had made a mistake; they would simply take further and more serious steps down the same road. We did not have to wait very long for that prophecy to be proved correct. We had the 1967 Bill, and now we have the 1968 Bill which produces a very marked extension of the powers.
I believe that the Bill is ill-conceived and will not work. I dislike it particularly because I consider it to be oppressive in the extreme. There are few things which I find more obnoxious or more distasteful than the spectacle of the State turning vindictive upon an individual. I believe that the right hon. Lady's Department, or whoever is responsible for the handling of Mr. Jocelyn Hambro's case, has shown the kind of mood which will colour the conduct of the Government in the exercise of these 875 powers. I fear, once the Government have these powers, they will be convinced of the purity of their motives, and will yield to the temptation to behave in a vindictive and oppressive manner.
The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Northampton said that the Bill will not work; Parliament cannot do this thing which the Government are now asking it to do. The fruit of our efforts, once upon the Statute Book, will prove totally incapable of achieving the results which the Government have in mind. I do not entirely share the hon. and learned Gentleman's concern for the survival of the Labour Party, but I endorse emphatically his condemnation that this is a breach of faith with the trade union movement. It is not only a breach of faith with the trade union movement; it is a breach of faith with the whole tradition of England. It is a breach of faith with all those who voted for the Labour Party in 1966 in the belief, ill-founded, that the traditional system of the country would be safe in the hands of a Socialist Government. I find appalling the fact that, after the experience that Ministers must have gone through during the past three years, they have learned nothing to modify the grossly flattering conception which they have of their own omniscience. One of the most surprising phenomena of the Government is that they cannot learn from their own mistakes, they cannot even begin to possess themselves of that humility which might teach them how valuable this would be.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Trevor Park (Derbyshire, South-East)
I listened intently and with respect, as I always do, to my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell). I found myself in a very broad measure of agreement with his arguments, but I did not agree with his conclusion. In my opinion, this Bill is as obnoxious on Third Reading as it was on Second Reading, and I cannot and will not support it.
I know that I shall be told that it is no longer a matter of the penal Clauses or the unfair treatment of workers on lower wages, against both of which I voted on Report. I realise that I shall 876 be reminded, as I have been already by my right hon. Friend, that the Bill contains provisions to control prices, dividends and rents, which I believe should have been brought into operation long ago. Indeed, if I have any criticism to make of this aspect, it is not that the proposals are too strong. I think that they are too weak and that, to be really effective, they need to be greatly intensified and provided with much more effective means of implementation than they possess at the moment.
I am being presented with a cyanide sandwich, and I am asked to consume it on the ground that, if I do not, I shall starve to death. That is a logic which I cannot accept. Together with a number of my hon. Friends, I have tried to extract the cyanide from the sandwich. Had we succeeded, we would have accepted the bread most willingly. We failed, although I suspect that we gave the Government a fright. I hope that we have succeeded in preventing a repetition of this nonsense at any time in the future.
If the Government try to seek penal powers over trade unionists ever again, not only will they fail to secure the majority support of the Labour movement, as they have already, but they will not get a majority for it in this House, and all the hosts of Orpington and the Colne Valley will be powerless to rescue them.
I reject the cyanide sandwich completely. Earlier this afternoon, my right hon. Friend described the Bill as an act of faith. I would describe it as an act of folly of the most disastrous kind. I cannot and will not support it.
§ 6.34 p.m.
§ Mr. Richard Wainwright
While hon. Members on the Liberal bench have not had any real hope that this Bill would contain sensible and practical Clauses on prices and dividends, we believed that the Government had won themselves a great opportunity on incomes. In the run-up to the Bill, they dissociated a vast pool of opinion in industry from the electioneering free-for-all of the Conservative Party, and they had also gained the support of a very large measure of expert independent opinion.
We regret very much that, on incomes, this opportunity has been missed. It 877 is true that this is not the wholly negative legislation which was presented to us in 1966, but it is still very confused and liable to lend itself to arbitrary operation. Liberals regret this, because we believe that the orderly growth of real wages in our type of society requires firm Stale intervention from time to time. It is no good even talking about that unless one is willing to tolerate, even though in the far background, some measure of sanctions.
§ An Hon. Member: That sounds very Liberal.
§ Mr. Biffen
I am interested in the phrasetolerate, in the far background, some sanctions".The hon. Gentleman will recall that, a year ago, it was precisely the sanction contained in Section 16 of the Prices and Incomes Act, 1966 (Terms and Conditions of Employment Enforcement) against which he and his hon. Friends voted. If the sanction must still remain, why was he against it a year ago and in favour of it now?
§ Mr. Wainwright
I am sure that I made it plain just now that we do not claim that the present Bill is wholly negative, as was the legislation of 1966 and 1967. Therefore, although we shall oppose the Third Reading of the Bill in a spirit of disappointment, we are not saying that it is the worst possible Bill that could have been presented to the House for Third Reading, because, for a few moments on Tuesday night, we had a most extraordinary vision of a Bill which was very much worse and in which the whole of the provisions about Prices —
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. In this Third Reading debate, we are discussing neither the earlier Acts nor the Bill which might have happened on Tuesday night.
§ Mr. Wainwright
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. I was led into that by earlier contributions, to which I would have liked to reply.
§ Mr. Mikardo
I am listening with breathless interest to the hon. Gentleman's explanation of the thinking of the six Liberal hon. Members who voted against our Amendment 878 because they thought that it created a condition of anarchy. Would the hon. Gentleman kindly explain now—
§ Mr. Mikardo
Since the penal sanctions are in the Bill, and since the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Richard Wainwright) has been discussing them; may I not ask him to explain the thinking of the six Liberal hon. Members who were paired with Government supporters and who therefore had the effect of voting for the Amendment, because clearly they thought that the penal sanctions were a gross infringement of civil liberty—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. This may be most fascinating, but we are discussing the Third Reading of the Bill.
§ Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) who, as I understand it, is leading the Conservative Party at present, asked my hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Richard Wainwright) a direct question, and you did not pull him up while he was putting his question. In view of that, surely my hon. Friend has a right to reply.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The recollection of the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) is singularly incorrect. I did call the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) to order when he was putting his question. Mr. Wainwright.
§ Mr. Wainwright
I am sorry that the rules of order prevent me from pursuing the point. I would like to have dwelt upon the fact that the unholy alliance on Tuesday night made—
§ Mr. Wainwright
In deference to your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, I must return to the Bill. In building terms, it attempts to cover four quite different storeys of a building with only one ceiling. It is an attempt which is doomed to failure. As we pointed out on Second Reading, in their White Paper leading up to the Bill 879 the Government spelt out accurately that there are four entirely distinct levels at which most wages are settled—plant level, district level, company level and national or industry-wide level. We asked them—and have never received any satisfaction—how, in the mechanism of this Bill, the Government could possibly contain the totality of all these distinct negotiations within the one ceiling of 3½ per cent. We have never received, either informally or in the House—and we have put the matter in a variety of ways—even an attempt at an answer—
§ Mr. Ted Fletcher (Darlington)
I am trying to follow the hon. Member's argument, and he says that he has put this point of view in a variety of ways. Will he comment on the fact that the representative of the Liberal Party on the Committee attended, to my knowledge, only twice and both times for very short periods, yet this was an opportunity to put that point of view? Could he explain—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. We are not discussing the attendance of hon. Members in Committee. We are discussing the Bill on Third Reading.
§ Mr. Wainwright
This Bill and the opportunity which the Government have created would have given them the chance to make it clear to all who are naturally and legitimately seeking the best possible pay bargain for themselves that, in future, they cannot look to industry-wide or nation-wide settlements to satisfy their claims. That could have been spelled out clearly in the Bill, as we asked, or put in later, but the Government have neither answered our questions nor provided the type of legislation which we were prepared to back. For this reason, and because we never began to have any faith in the prices or dividends parts of the Bill, we must, with a feeling of disappointment, vote against it.
§ 6.43 p.m.
§ Mr. Sydney Bidwell (Southall)
The contribution of the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Richard Wainwright) is the perfect historical explanation of why the Lib-Lab alliance was wound up and the Labour Party began at the beginning of the century. I do not like to withhold my vote from the Government and therefore from support of my 880 right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, for whom I have the highest regard, without an explanation to the House.
I have paid close attention to the problems of incomes policy in my short time in the House. When my right hon. Friend undertook her present massive job, she rightly emphasised the need for a positive policy on incomes, prices and productivity on which Britain's future depends, but she and her right hon. Friend must recognise that incomes policy by itself, whatever the interpretation we make of it, can never be considered in isolation and that we must bear in mind the need to recast Britain's economic national and international resources, which means cutting the arms burden. But I realise that, if I pursued that line, you would soon declare me out of order, Mr. Speaker.
The Bill and its punitive Clauses must be related to the fundamental capitalist economic order in which we live. I hope that our presence on this side of the House is to help to fulfil the purpose of so many trade unions, to change the character of society to prepare for the emergence of a democratic Socialist society. Very few in the trade union movement, which I understand so well because of my background, are interested in illusory wage increases. The whole truth over a vast field of employer-worker relationships is that what does not go in wages and salaries goes to employers. That is how the matter is seen in the country.
Alas, the Government so far have succeeded only in turning the attention of the workers away from the employers and on to themselves. As regards this legislation, for many in the Labour movement the proof of the pudding is in the eating. This is where the views of my hon. Friend the Member for Hudders-field, West (Mr. Lomas) are fundamentally wrong, because they are ventured against what is happening to the low-paid workers. I refer to the change of attitude by the agricultural workers— [Interruption.]
§ Mrs. Anne Kerr
On a point of order. We are trying to listen to a very important speech and it would be helpful if hon. Members could be quieter.
§ Mr. Bidwell
I want to draw attention to the current struggles taking place in industry and the change of attitude of agricultural and railway workers. The N.U.R. has been a most loyal supporter of the whole idea not only of a voluntary incomes policy but of a statutory one at the same time. Now, railway workers feel obliged to vote with their feet in this matter and to take industrial action because they have not been given the justice which is their right.
I must issue certain warnings to the Government. The trade union movement and the vast majority of trade unionists who support our party and long for the success of a Labour Government understand what my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) has said. Although he said that "humbug" is not a permitted word in this House, that is what it adds up to. Although restrictive measures are now to be imposed by the Bill, they are chickenfeed compared with those which the Opposition have up their sleeves when they take power again.
As it stands, the Bill is fundamentally bad. It still retains the punitive Clauses which are obnoxious to the trade union movement. If I told my local trade unionists and supporters that I had voted for the Bill, with these Clauses, and that the Government had steadfastly refused to budge on the issue of the minimum wage—I have in mind that the lowest-paid adult railway worker at 20 years of age is earning £11 6s. a week—I would not be serving these people. I must abstain, unless the Under-Secretary gives a convincing reply, and I see in this abstention that I am carrying out the true interests of the people whom I came here to serve.
§ 6.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Stanley R. McMaster (Belfast, East)
It gives me great pleasure to follow the impressive speech of the hon. Member for Southall (Mr. Bidwell) and that of the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Park). I remember that, on an accasion which was not unlike this, when a former Chancellor, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for the Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) introduced a payroll tax, I also felt strongly and felt obliged to oppose my party. I therefore know the difficulties which the hon. Gentleman has had in taking this action, 882 because he believes that deeper issues are involved than just one small Bill.
Like him, I am totally opposed to the penalty provisions in the Bill against men who exercise their fundamental right to strike. Not only are those parts of the Bill fundamentally wrong, but the Measure as a whole will not achieve its purpose. It is an entirely bad Bill.
It was said when Income Tax was first introduced that it would be a temporary measure. The same was said of the 1966 Act which preceded the 1967 Act and this Bill. I fear that legislation of this kind will become as permanent as Income Tax. Measures of this kind impede the growth of the economy, as the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) pointed out. They foster the growth of bureaucracy and make the economy less flexible and adaptable in an age when it must adapt. They encourage inefficient companies to stay in business by keeping wage levels down.
The management of wage rates is the function of business management. An interesting report appears in today's newspapers telling of a group of American economists who have given their views of business management in Britain. If there have been faults in the past 10 to 20 years—and nobody can deny that there have been—they have been due to the inefficiency of business management to keep wages and prices within reasonable levels and so enable us to be competitive in world markets. It is not the job of Government to impose wage levels throughout the economy. By attempting to do so they are perpetuating the faults which have existed since the war.
I vividly recall the promises made by my Labour opponent in the 1964 General Election in Belfast, East. Between 1962 and 1964 the Prime Minister condemned the Conservative Party by saying that in the growth stakes Britain was falling far behind the rest of the world—
§ Mr. McMaster
Four years after those promises were made in 1964 we have the third prices and incomes measure. Is this what Labour supporters voted for in 1964 and again in 1966?
883 The Bill must be considered in conjunction with the Chancellor's Budget statement because it is an instrument designed by the Government to achieve the Chancellor's aim of reducing the standard of living of every British citizen by between 1 per cent. and 2 per cent. I fear that the right hon. Gentleman's estimate of what would happen following devaluation was very much an underestimate. What are economic conditions like after four years of Labour rule? To begin with, we have growing unemployment.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman has every right to say all this, but not on the Third Reading of this Bill.
§ Mr. McMaster
I apologise for constantly wandering out of order, Mr. Speaker.
The Bill applies, with the exception of Part III, to Northern Ireland. Its effect will be felt by my constituents, who are now witnessing unemployment at the rate of 7 per cent.—this in mid-summer.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman must listen to what the Chair is saying. He can discuss unemployment in Northern Ireland on the appropriate occasions. I remind him that we are debating the Third Reading of the Prices and Incomes Bill.
§ Mr. McMaster
As the Bill is part of the Chancellor's logic and must be considered in conjunction with the Budget, I was relating what its effect will be on the already depressed state of the economy, not only in Northern Ireland but throughout the country. The effect of this Measure and its two predecessors will be disastrous. It will be bad for business morale, it will damage investment and it will be ruinous for savings. In short, legislation of this kind must be a complete disaster for Britain. In its place we need something which will encourage flexibility, adaptability and efficiency. A long drawn out freeze, of which this Measure is the last step, is the worst possible medicine that Britain could be given for its economic ills.
§ 6.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Atkinson
I am anxious to comment on the Powellite mythology so eloquently demonstrated by the hon. Member for Owestry (Mr. Biffen). First, how- 884 ever, I wish to endanger the chances of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) becoming a member of the Government by congratulating him on his accurate analysis of the wage situation.
At the outset of our discussion today on the Bill I said that I thought that Confucius had once been an hon. Member. My right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) commented that he thought that Machiavelli had been here at some time. From my experience this week and having listened to the speeches on this Measure, I believe that there is a great deal of truth in what my right hon. Friend said. This has been an extremely traumatic experience for many of my hon. Friends.
It is dreadful that we should be faced with the situation of the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) honestly presenting his opinion of the Bill and being jeered by his hon. Friends—not because of the emptiness of his argument but because he is prepared to defy the Whips and managers of his party. [Interruption.] That is why there was so much noise from the benches opposite when the hon. Gentleman said that he would like to have supported the Bill and that if the Tory Party were returned to power—if such a dreadful occurrence took place— it would, of necessity, have to pursue a prices and incomes policy of this kind, including penal Clauses. The hon. Gentleman was jeered by his hon. Friends for saying that.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Easington commented on our democratic practices. It seems that we have now reached the stage—this was clearly demonstrated this week—when the Opposition is impotent in the absence of argument on this side of the House. Likewise, the Left of the Labour Party has been accused of its impotency in the absence of hon. Members opposite voting against the Government. Thus, as a result of the voting pattern in the House this week, the British Press has been presenting a picture of an unholy alliance between the extreme Left and Right in the House which had as its object the defeat of the Government. To print such things is to confuse the argument.
§ Sir D. Glover
On a point of order. Are the hon. Gentleman's comments 885 about an unholy alliance relevant to the Third Reading?
§ Mr. Speaker
I was waiting for the hon. Gentleman to relate his comments to the Bill, which I think he was about to do.
§ Mr. Atkinson
That is absolutely true, Mr. Speaker, because by analysing some of the logic of the voting pattern which we have seen in the House one can try to understand why certain Clauses have remained in the Bill. In other words, I want to consider the Bill as it stands following the discussion of a number of Amendments and the voting pattern which has emerged.
This matter is of concern to all hon. Members. It has been suggested that there is a curious grouping in the House and that certain sections have joined together to defeat the Government. I am arguing that the opposition to the Government in certain matters has arisen for totally different reasons, reasons which are distinctly opposite—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I said earlier that I hoped that the hon. Gentleman's remarks about an unholy alliance would be related to the Third Reading. He is now referring to Amendments which were debated at an earlier stage of the Bill. We are now discussing the Third Reading of the Bill and he must relate his comments to that.
§ Mr. Atkinson
I was about to turn to the Powellite mythology of which I spoke earlier.
What we have tried to do in this debate has been, not only to argue that penal legislation is against the interests of the Labour movement, that it is anti-trade union, but that it is bad economics. This is where the extremes of the House divide. The whole of our case on Amendment No. 3, asking that all references to wages should be taken out of the Bill separated us from hon. Members opposite because we were arguing for all references to be taken from the Bill, not only those parts which refer to the penal Clauses. The official Amendment by the Opposition related only to Clause 16 and referred to the penal Clauses. We were arguing a case for changing the character of the Bill.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. We cannot repeat the debate we had the other day on the removal of or attempt to remove, certain parts of the Bill. We have the Bill now. The hon. Member can denounce it, but he cannot amend it.
§ Mr. Atkinson
I am commenting because, as the Bill now stands, by the defeat of those Amendments the country has been denied legislation which could have been positive instead of negative, which could have been pro-trade union instead of anti-trade union and could have been in favour of growth instead of having the restrictive qualities which now stand as a result of the Bill. We wanted to change its character. None the less, despite our argument, all reference to wages still remains in the Bill. Therefore, the country is to be denied the positive policy which could have resulted had we taken the references to wages out of the Bill.
Why are we arguing logic in this way? It is because if we had now not a Prices and Incomes Bill but a Bill dealing with prices, dividends and rents we would have compelled workers and management to negotiate wage claims against price maxima. If that had been the situation and climate in the country, employers would have been compelled to concede wage advances only at the expense of undistributed dividends.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. We are on Third Reading of a Bill. On the Third Reading of a Bill one discusses what is in the Bill, not what would be in another Bill which the hon. Member would like to see.
§ Mr. Atkinson
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I draw my remarks to a close. Because we have this totally different approach from other sections of the House we argued the case on Amendment No. 3 in the way we did. As the Bill now stands with all the references to wages within it, employers will not have to concede wage advances in the absence of greater investment. Were it the other way round, employers would be compelled to invest much more in plant and equipment to concede the wage advances negotiated. It is from the positive aspect of looking at the whole economic strategy that we have tried to contribute a point of view to this debate.
887 My hon. Friends have adequately made clear their arguments about the effect on the British trade union movement. We on this side of the House have tried to be consistent in positively and constructively arguing that there is an alternative economic strategy available to this country which could be delivered by a united Labour movement if we had this approach to our problems of the moment. Therefore, on this Third Reading there is a degree of sadness about our conclusions. Because these Clauses have remained in the Bill the country will be denied the tremendous opportunities that maximum growth could give and which could increase the living standards of the working people.
§ 7.5 p.m.
§ Mr. R. Carr
There is indeed an alternative economic strategy for this country, an alternative quite different from that contained in this Bill. Of course we on this side of the House and hon. Members opposite would not agree about what the alternative strategy should be. There are big differences, but we can and do genuinely and sincerely agree that the contents of this Bill are wrong. That agreement is complete and sincere just as our disagreement about the alternatives would be equally deep and equally sincere.
We oppose this Bill, as we have opposed previous Bills with similar contents, because it is bad in principle and ineffective in practice. This is no longer an opinion but indeed a fact of experience. This is the third time round for Bills with contents of this kind. We have seen now that such little short-term effects as they may have—if they have any, and it is doubtful if they have any—are more than counterbalanced by the long-term damage done by putting off a real tackling of the economic and social problems which need to be tackled if we are to be prosperous and healthy as a society.
Above all, because in the long-term a Bill of this kind will damage, just as the previous two have damaged, responsible voluntary action within industry—and if we are to have a free country it is only by encouraging rather than killing responsible voluntary action—it is unlikely to succeed. We all respect the sincerity of the feeling of my hon. Friend the Member 888 for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) about the need for something to be done. There would be some substance in his arguments if only there were any evidence that the sort of measures in this Bill worked, but at the beginning of the third year of this sort of legislation we can definitely say that it does not work, and there is no evidence that it will work.
All independent studies have proved this in this country, as have those carried out by people in other countries. In The Times only today there is another study, carried out on this occasion by the Brookings Institution of the United States—
§ Mr. Shinwell
On a point of order. Is something which appeared in The Times today about an institution in the United States in the Bill?
§ Mr. Carr
What I am about to quote is a very short quotation. I hope that you, Mr. Speaker, will feel that it does bear directly in comment on the merits and contents of this Bill. This is what the Brookings Institution inquiry says:Incomes policy does not guarantee a reconciliation of full employment with price stability or with a manageable balance of payments. It is more likely to forestall a worsening of the payments situation than to effect an improvement.That is the judgment of a pretty highly rated institution on the effect of the contents of this Bill on the balance of payments situation which we are now told is the main purpose of the Bill to secure.
What is the purpose of legislation of this kind? Very similar contents two years ago were to provide the alternative to unemployment. Now, although unemployment, thank goodness, is well within the concepts of what only 20 years ago would have been regarded as very full employment, it is nevertheless higher at this time of year than it has been for almost 30 years. So much for an alternative to unemployment. Last year, with very similar contents, the purpose was to prevent devaluation. Then came November. This year we are told that this legislation is designed to make devaluation work.
889 The right hon. Lady—I am sorry that she should not be here—described it, in moving the Third Reading, as an act of faith. With that record behind, I will say that it is an act of faith! One sees the faith shining out of the eyes of hon. Members opposite. The right hon. Lady went on to advocate the Bill in her usual manner, with mere rhetoric rather than with argument. She used high-sounding phrases about its being to encourage expansion, to re-shape our industry, to re-structure our industry. Even now she says that the purpose and the effect of the Bill are to bring about a high-wage, high-productivity, low-cost economy. That is certainly what we must have, but I could not have explained better than the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) why the Bill is the wrong way of going about it.
All I want to do is to draw attention very briefly to four features of the contents of the Bill. First, this legislation in its 1968 style proves the point we have made every year about the inevitability of escalation—how, if the Government are going in for legislation of this type, the powers will never be adequate for the task as it develops and each year the powers will have to be greater and spread over a wider range of activities. The contents of the Bill prove that.
The period of the Bill also proves it. In 1966 we were told that legislation of this kind would be needed for one year only, once and for all. In 1967 it was more guarded; it was hoped that one more year would be enough. In 1968 we are told that it has to be at least 18 months and the best promise for the future that the right hon. Lady could make today was that in the autumn of 1969 an informed decision will be made in the light of circumstances at that time.
When pressed, as she was by my hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen), to say whether Sections 13-22 of the 1966 Act, which are imported by Clause 1 into the Bill, and which are a feature of what the Government euphemistically like to call a voluntary policy, are likely to be permanent, no answer was forthcoming. Of course no answer was forthcoming, because either the Government must go back to freedom or again next year they will have to go forward to much more compulsion.
890 The second feature of the contents of the Bill is that they cry out aloud to us in proof that, if there is any merit or any effect in powers of this type, it will be only because they become a permanency in our economy and society and they cannot have any worthwhile effect on a temporary basis. This, too, has been brought out in previous years, and not only from this side of the House. These powers, if they are to be of effect, must be permanent; and, if anything, they must be increasing in power the whole time.
The third thing—this I will touch on very briefly—brought out by the contents of the Bill is that it exposes finally the schizophrenia of Labour Socialist policy, because in the end a distinction must be drawn between planning and freedom. Planning is inherent in the Bill, and the right hon. Lady believes that it must involve planning of incomes and, in the end, in some form or other, planning of employment as well. This, too, has become clear in the features of the Bill and in the context of previous Bills.
§ Mr. Carr
I must leave doctrinal arguments about various forms of socialist faith to members of the Labour Party. I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that you would not allow me to go into them today. In practice, we are seeing the schizophrenia deyeloping in the Labour Party enshrined in its approach to how incomes can be planned whilst maintaining free, independent trade unionism and the right of free collective bargaining unin-terfered with by the State, on which free, independent trade unionism must in the end depend for its life.
The fourth and final feature of the contents of the Bill to which I want to draw attention are those contents which we can only describe as the window dressing or sugar coating Clauses. This is well known to some hon. Members opposite. The prices, the charges, and the dividends side of the Bill have hitherto been phoney. They may possibly be a little less phoney if the right hon. Lady has her way over the next year, anyhow 891 qua dividends. The irony of it is that, in so far as the right hon. Lady makes the sugar coating part of her Bill less phoney, she will be putting back the day when there is any hope of a return to free collective bargaining and to a high-earning, high productivity, low-cost economy which she pretends to support.
It is very easy and superficially popular to say that dividends should be limited. When dividends are limited by artificial, administrative means, a direct penalty is put on the growing, more adventurous, more efficient companies, whether they be large or small at the moment, because these are the capital-hungry companies which must be able to attract more capital if they are to grow and turn the potentiality of their growth into reality.
Similarly, by limiting dividends the flow of new investment capital to industry must be reduced. Only by encouraging the growth points and the flow of new capital into industry can we move towards the high-productivity, high-earning, low-cost economy which we deserve. In so far as that part of the Bill is not pure window dressing and sugar coating, it is positively inimical to the purpose which the right hon. Lady claims.
Similarly, prices. The White Paper criteria admit that shop prices cannot be controlled, because there are too many. Yet it is shop prices which the ordinary consumer is interested in. The full window dressing nature of the powers of the Bill were exposed when it was made quite clear that the criteria by which price reductions can be brought about do not include the ability to reduce retail margins. They are not included in the criteria in the Bill at the moment. This is very largely a phoney.
It is only right that, if we in our capacity as income earners are to suffer restraint, there should appear to be fairness. For that reason, we see the psychology of the attempt to talk about prices and dividend control. The only way in which a proper control of prices and dividends can be achieved, to get the fairness which is necessary, without at the same time damaging the sources of new growth in the economy, and therefore the sources of a high-earning, low-cost, high-productivity economy, is by incentive and competition. There we 892 come to the alternative strategy which Britain needs.
§ 7.19 p.m.
§ Mr. Hattersley
We have heard again from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) the same romantic analysis of the economy which he has made so many times, the economy in which the good are rewarded and the bad penalised and in which the efficient inherit the earth. If it were like that, the problems from which this and other industrial nations have suffered during the past 20 years would not be problems of the sort which we still face tonight.
I turn to the more realistic analysis of our problems which was made by some of my hon. Friends, whose conclusions about the Bill are fundamentally different from mine but who have throughout our debates attempted to analyse in a realistic and practical way the problems which we face. I turn at once to the description of the Bill which came from my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr, Park)—a "cyanide sandwich". He said that in the past he had been, and no doubt, in the future would again be, reminded of the price elements, the rent elements and the dividend elements and be asked to eat the sandwich because the cyanide interior was obscured by the bread of popular policy.
I do not ask my hon. Friend to vote for the Bill because parts of it are good. I ask him to vote for it because all of it is necessary, vitally necessary. That is the only justification which I have ever claimed for the Bill. In my view, it is the most potent justification there can be, and a justification sufficiently substantial to commend it to thinking people. I have never claimed—this is the answer to the first question asked by the hon. Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen)—that a prices and incomes policy with statutory backing as specified and embodied in the Bill was a permanently desirable feature of economic policy.
When the hon. Gentleman asks what our intentions are about Clauses 1 to 3 and the perpetuation of those provisions in earlier Measures to which Clauses 1 to 3 refer, I can only ask him again to read virtually every speech on this subject made by my right hon. Friend the 893 First Secretary of State, made by the Prime Minister, and—if I may humbly suggest it—made by me on Second Reading. Those speeches stated that our intentions as regards continuing the powers under Clauses 1 to 3 were exactly matched to the necessities of the situation. If in eighteen months the problems which we face are the same, then, obviously, we must reserve the right to apply what remedies we believe to be necessary. If, on the other hand, in 18 months, as we hope and believe, the situation is radically changed, there is not on my part and certainly not on the part of the Government any doctrinal wish to preserve those provisions and powers because we believe them to be good in themselves.
§ Mr. Biffen
May we take it as a categorical statement from the hon. Gentleman, presumably endorsed by the Home Secretary, the First Secretary of State and the Prime Minister, that the voluntary policy to which the Government are evolving is one which will no longer require the statutory principles in Part II of the 1966 Act?
§ Mr. Hattersley
I have said before— I am sure that the hon. Gentleman accepts it—that it is not my practice to invent Government policy spontaneously at the Dispatch Box—at least, not a practice which I would operate twice. My reply to the hon. Gentleman is that, while it is our hope and intention that economic recovery will make these provisions unnecessary, it is equally our intention to reserve the right to apply whatever remedies seem necessary if that recovery is not possible. That is an unequivocal statement of our position.
I make an equally unequivocal statement in answer to the hon. Gentleman's second question. How, he says, can we claim that Clause 3 represents an essentially voluntary policy? I say again, as I and my right hon. Friend have said before, that Clauses 1 to 3 cannot operate successfully if a majority of trade unions and trade unionists withhold their voluntary co-operation. Those Clauses do not say that, unless a majority of trade unions and trade unionists co-operate willingly, they will be subject to the penal sanctions, as they have been called. What they say is that, in the knowledge that an overwhelming: number of trade unions and trade unionists will co-operate voluntarily, we take power to ensure that those few 894 who insist on special privileges and special advantages at a time when their comrades and colleagues are exercising voluntary restraint should not be allowed to do so. That is very different from taking or implementing powers with the intention and object of using them widely and totally.
Next, I turn to the very real and proper concern which many of my hon. Friends have expressed about the lowest-paid workers. Formally within the powers we ask to be conferred upon us is the obligation, the legal obligation, to pay special regard to the lowest-paid and to give them special protection during the stringent time still ahead. This principle is embodied in the Schedule to the parent Act. It is our essential intention. If hon. Members want to know how successful we expect that intention to be, I ask them to do no more than examine the record of the prices and incomes policy during the past two years, years during which the lowest-paid—I shall not weary the House with examples—have been to a measure subject to these exemptions and have to a measure benefited when other groups have not benefited. The Bill provides us with a continuing power in that respect, and it is our intention to use it.
The right hon. Member for Mitcham asked the rhetorical question: how can we hope, when the policy has failed in the past, that on the third occasion it will succeed? The right hon. Gentleman must not continue to ask questions which are flagrantly at variance with the facts. The facts show from the way wages have moved, earnings have moved and prices have moved that the previous Prices and Incomes Acts have played a notable part in much of the economic progress which has been made.
On Second Reading, I told the right hon. Gentleman that the present Bill had two objectives. The first I described as the maximum objective, namely, a realignment of attitudes in British industry and a willingness to calculate and organise wage increases on more rational and more productive lines. The powers which it gives my right hon. Friend are powers to assist her in stimulating her already successful drive towards more and more productivity agreements. I said that the Bill had a minimum aim, a minimum aim which the right hon. Gentleman almost conceded on Second Reading, namely, that during the next 895 18 months effective demand may be held back by 1, 1£ or 2 per cent.
While I believe that the maximum aim will be achieved, I insist at the same time that the minimum aim is not insignificant. Its outcome will, perhaps, be a reduction of effective demand of about £200 million. To me and, I believe, to many of my right hon. Friends, this is a far more palatable way of doing it than any of the other measures at the Government's disposal.
I commend the Bill to my right hon. and hon. Friends for two reasons. The
§ first is that it goes some way to meet the economic necessities of our time. The second is that embodied within it are the just and compassionate provisions which one would expect this Government to make for the lowest-paid workers. Combining those two attributes of the Bill, I believe that it deserves the support of my right hon. and hon. Friends in the Lobby tonight.
§ Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 280, Noes 238.899
|Division No. 255.]||AYES||[7.30 p.m.|
|Albu, Austen||Dewar, Donald||Hunter, Adam|
|Alldritt, Walter||Dobson, Ray||Hynd, John|
|Allen, Scholefield||Dunn, James A.||Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)|
|Anderson, Donald||Dunnett, Jack||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)|
|Archer, Peter||Dunwootly, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Janner, Sir Barnett|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Dun woody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Ashley, Jack||Eadie, Alex||Jeger, George (Goole)|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Edelman, Maurice||Joger,Mrs.Lena(H'bn&St.P'cras,S.)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)|
|Barnes, Michael||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham S)|
|Bence Cyril||English, Michael||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull,W.)|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Ennals, David||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Ensor, David||Jones, Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)|
|Binns, John||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Bishop, E. S.||FaUlds, Andrew||j0nes, T. Alec (Rondda, West)|
|Blackburn, F.||Fernyhough, E.||Judd prank|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Kelly, Richard|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Foley, Maurice||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Boston, Terence||Ford, Ben||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Forrestor, John||Lawson, George|
|Boyden, James||Fowler, Gerry||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Ledger Ron|
|Bradley, Tom||Freeson, Reginald|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Garrett, Tony||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)|
|Brooks, Edwin||Garrett, W. E.||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Ginsburg, David||Lestor, Miss Joan|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Lewis, L. M. (Ardwick)|
|Brown,Bob(N-c'tle.upon.Tyne,W.)||Gouray, Harry||Lewis, Ron. (Carlisle)|
|Brown, H. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Lipton, Marcus|
|Buchan, Norman||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Lmas, Kenneth|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Gregory Arnold||Loughlin, Charles|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Grey, Charles (Durham)||Luard, Evan|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Lyon, Alexander w. (York)|
|Caliaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Griffiths, E. (Brightside)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Cant, R. B.||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Carmichael, Neil||Gunter Rt. Hn. R. J.||McBride, Neil|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||McCann, John|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Hamling William||MacColl, James|
|Chapman, Donald||Hannan, William||Macdonald, A. H.|
|coe, Denis||Harper, Joseph||McGuire, Michael|
|Coleman, Donald||Harbison, Walter (Wakefield)||McKay, Mrs. Margaret|
|Conian, Bernard||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rulherglen)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Haseldine Norman||Mackie, John|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hattersley, Roy||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Hazell, Bert||Maclennan, Robert|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Henig, Stanley||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Dalyell, Tam||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Hilton, W.S.||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S)|
|Davidson Arthur (Accrington)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)|
|Davies Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Mallalieu.J.P.W. (Hudderfield.E.)|
|Davies Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Marks, Kenneth|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Marquand, David|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Howie, W.||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Hoy, James||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy|
|Delargy, Hugh||Huckfield, Leslie||Maxwell, Robert|
|Dell, Edmund||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Dempsey, James||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Mellith, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Millan, Bruce||Randall, Harry||Thomson, Rt. Hn. George|
|Miller, Dr. M. S.||Rankin, John||Thornton, Ernest|
|Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Rees, Merlyn||Tinn, James|
|Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Reynolds, Rt. Hn. G. W.||Tuck, Raphael|
|Molloy, William||Rhodes, Geoffrey||Urwin, T. W.|
|Moonman, Eric||Richard, Ivor||Varley, Eric G.|
|Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caer'v'n)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)||Walden, Brian (All Saints)|
|Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Morris, John (Aberavon)||Robinson,Rt.Hn.Kenneth(St.P'c'as)||Wallace, George|
|Moyle, Roland||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Murray, Albert||Roebuck, Roy||Weitzman, David|
|Neal, Harold||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Wellbeloved, James|
|Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Rose, Paul||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Noel-Baker, Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S.)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William||Whitaker, Ben|
|Oakes, Gordon||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Ogden, Eric||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)||Whitlock, William|
|O'Malley, Brian||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Oram, Albert E.||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Oswald, Thomas||Short,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)||Short,Mrs.Renée(W'hampton,N.E.)||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Page, Derek (King's Lynn)||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Palmer, Arthur||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Skeffington, Arthur||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Parker, John (Dagenham)||Slater, Joseph||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Parkin, Ben (Paddington, N.)||Small, William||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Snow, Julian||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Pavitt, Laurence||Spriggs, Leslie||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Woof, Robert|
|Pentland, Norman||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)||Strauss, Rt. Hn. C. R.||Yates, Victor|
|Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.||Summerskill, Hn, Dr. Shirley|
|Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)||Swingler, Stephen||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)||Symonds, J. B.||Mr. Ioan L. Evans and|
|Price, William (Rugby)||Taverne, Dick||Mr. J. D. Concannon.|
|Probert, Arthur||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Crowder, F. P.||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Cunningham, Sir Knox||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Astor, John||Currie, G. B. H.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Hastings, Stephen|
|Awdry, Daniel||Dance, James||Hawkins, Paul|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hay, John|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel|
|Balniel, Lord||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward|
|Batsford, Brian||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Higgins, Terence L.|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Hiley, Joseph|
|Bell, Ronald||Donnelly, Desmond||Hill, J. E. B.|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Drayson, G. B.||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Holland, Philip|
|Biffen, John||Eden, Sir John||Hooson, Emlyn|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Hordern, Peter|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Emery, Peter||Hornby, Richard|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Errington, Sir Eric||Howell, David (Guildford)|
|Blaker, Peter||Eyre, Reginald||Hunt, John|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Farr, John||Hutchison, Michael Clark|
|Body, Richard||Fisher, Nigel||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||F1etcher-Cooke, Charles||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Fortescue, Tim||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)|
|Braine, Bernard||Foster, Sir John||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)|
|Brewis, John||Fraster, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Gibson-Watt, David||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Giles, Rear-Adm. Morgan||Jopling, Michael|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Burden, F. A.||Glover, Sir Douglas||Kerby, Capt. Henry|
|Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.)||Glyn, Sir Richard||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Kimball, Marcus|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Goodhart, Philip||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Goodhew, Victor||Kirk, Peter|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Gower, Raymond||Kitson, Timothy|
|Clegg, Walter||Grant, Anthony||Knight, Mrs. Jill|
|Cooke, Robert||Grieve, Percy||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Lane, David|
|Cordle, John||Gurden, Harold||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Corfield, F. V.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Costain, A. P.||Hall-Davis, A. C. F.||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)||Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Crouch, David||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)|
|Loveys, W. H.||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Lubbock, Eric||Peel, John||Tapsell, Peter|
|McAdden, Sir Stephen||Percival, Ian||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|MacArthur, Ian||Peyton, John||Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain||Pink, R. Bonner||Teeling, Sir William|
|McMaster, Stanley||Pounder, Rafton||Temple, John M.|
|Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Maddan, Martin||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Tilney, John|
|Maginnis, John E.||Prior, J. M. L.||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Marten, Neil||Pym, Francis||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Maude, Angus||Quennell Miss J. M.||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Mawby, Ray||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Wall, Patrick|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Walters, Dennis|
|Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Ridsdale, Julian||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Monro, Hector||Robson Brown, Sir William||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Montgomery, Fergus||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Webster, David|
|Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Royle, Anthony||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Russell, Sir Ronald||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||St. John-Stevas, Norman||Williams, Donald (Dudley)|
|Murton, Oscar||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Scott, Nicholas||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Neave, Airey||Scott-Hopkins, James||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Sharples, Richard||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Shaw, Michael (Se'b'gh & Whitby)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Nott, John||Silvester, Frederick||Wylie, N. R.|
|Onslow, Cranley||Smith, Dudley (W' wick & L'mington)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Orr-Ewing, Sir lan||Speed, Keith||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Osborn, John (Hallam)||Stainton, Keith||Mr. R. W. Elliott and|
|Page, Graham (Crosby)||Stodart, Anthony||Mr. Jasper More.|
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.