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Economic Policy (Consultations)

Volume 446: debated on Tuesday 27 January 1948

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asked the Minister of Labour for what reason, after two months of negotiations, agreement was not reached with the T.U.C. Crisis Committee on a general wages policy; whether he proposes to continue these talks on wages; and whether he will make a statement on the present position.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him by the Lord President of the Council on 4th November, and to the Prime Minister's reply to the hon. Member for The High Peak (Mr. Molson) on 23rd January.

Many things have happened since 4th November. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman get his colleagues in the trade union movement to see that increased supplies and lower prices are more important than increased paper wages? Can he not get them to see that?

I think that the pronouncements that my ex-colleagues on the General Council have made show they are very much alive to that fact.

Is it not a fact that the arrangements for fixing wages function more satisfactorily in this country than in all others? In view of that, is it not better to leave well alone?

I think hon. Members have heard me frequently boast of the good relationships in this country as compared with those in other countries. We do have our little outbreaks, but when we consider the whole period since the war, we can say we have been very successful indeed. It would be a great mistake to upset them.