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Electricity Industry (Minister's Speech)

Volume 466: debated on Monday 27 June 1949

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45.

asked the Prime Minister whether the speech of the Minister of Fuel and Power to the Electrical Trades Union sets out the policy of His Majesty's Government with respect to the replacement by others of persons at present employed in managerial and technical capacities in the electrical industry.

I have been asked to reply. The Press reports of the speech were necessarily condensed, and some of them may have given a wrong impression. My right hon. Friend was not suggesting that any of the managers at present employed in the electricity industry should be replaced, but merely that if workers were to be in a position to compete for managerial posts as vacancies arose they must have opportunities for training and promotion.

Does that welcome denial include a contradiction of the report which appeared in a number of newspapers, to the effect that the Minister of Fuel and Power had indicated an intention to remove competent technicians from the industry and replace them with what he described as "our own people"?

I think it is clear from the reply I have given that my right hon. Friend had no such intention. The hon. Member can therefore rest in peace on that point.

Did the Minister of Fuel and Power consult the Cabinet or the Prime Minister before making what might have been a most important speech?

I do not know, but if all Ministers had to consult the Prime Minister before making speeches, it would keep my right hon. Friend very busy.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Members on these benches welcome the suggestion that there will be an opportunity in all trades for members of trade unions, of all sorts of ranks, to reach the highest level?