§ 1. Mr. Douglas
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, at the next meeting of the National Economic Development Council at which he takes the chair, he will submit a paper dealing with a voluntary incomes policy.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Anthony Barber)
Arrangements have been made for the Council to have a general discussion of economic affairs at its meeting on 7th July. I expect the discussions to cover a wide range of economic topics including prices and incomes. The T.U.C. has offered to prepare a paper for discussion at the meeting.
§ Mr. Douglas
Would the Chancellor accept that there is a growing feeling in the country that the Government are callously attempting to get an incomes policy on the backs of the unemployed and that this is particularly so after the tragic events at Upper Clyde Shipbuilders? Is he aware that if the Government continue with this foolhardy policy there will be little hope of their receiving co-operation from the trade unions?
§ Mr. Barber
I do not propose to anticipate the discussions which we shall 207 be having on 7th July. To do so would only prejudice those discussions.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
Would my right hon. Friend not agree that it would be pointless to discuss the voluntary incomes policy without some discussion of the attitude so recently expressed by such trade union leaders as Mr. Jones and Mr. Scanlon towards any such policy?
§ Mr. Barber
Again I can only say that I do not want to prejudice the outcome of these discussions. I have made it clear in the House before that I have never ruled out a voluntary incomes policy. I repeat that it would have to be a real and genuine policy, not a make-believe one.
§ Mr. Barnett
How does the right hon. Gentleman make sense of his present incomes policy, bearing in mind his willingness to give 11½ per cent. to his own Civil Service employees and his wish to give considerably less elsewhere?