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Production (Wages And Hours)

Volume 446: debated on Friday 23 January 1948

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asked the Prime Minister what steps the Government propose to take to prevent increase in wages or reduction in working hours where there is no compensating increase in production; and which Ministers are responsible for averting the spiral of inflation against which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has issued a warning.

It is the Government's policy to entrust to organised industry the responsibility for determining terms and conditions of employment, but the Government have taken all steps to inform the two sides and the country generally of the full facts of our economic position and of the overriding need for maximum production, and for avoiding any action which would increase costs. I would emphasize the appeal which I have already made to workers in all industries and employments not to press at this time for increases of wages or changes in conditions which would have a similar effect. As regards the second part of the Question, this is a responsibility shared by all Ministers.