§ 20. Mr. R. Carr
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what was the percentage increase in wage rates in 1968; and what was the last year in which that rate of increase was exceeded.
§ Mr. Harold Walker
During the period end-December, 1967, to end-December, 1968, there were increases of 6.9 per cent. in the index of basic weekly rates of wages and 7.1 per cent. in the index of basic hourly rates of wage. 1956 was the last calendar year in which these percentage rates of change were exceeded.
§ Mr. Walker
The qualification which I think my right hon. Friend added was, having due regard to the growth of production and productivity. If the right hon. Gentleman will look at the latest figures, he will see that both output per head and productivity are rising very rapidly indeed and make up the gap.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Do not the figures show the absolute futility of an attempt to intervene in wage negotiations by using compulsory powers?
§ Mr. Walker
I do not think that they show anything of the kind. The policy 1063 is clearly related to levels of earnings, and increases in wage rates and scales do not necessarily find their reflection in earnings.
§ Mr. Manuel
But does not my hon. Friend recognise that figures about percentage increases are most misleading in many instances? In some cases, the lower-paid workers have had no advance at all.