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Government Employees (Wages)

Volume 649: debated on Tuesday 21 November 1961

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7.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to raise the average wage rates and earnings of employees in Government establishments by 6 per cent. annually for the next 10 years so that they will be earning £1,000 a year in 1971.

The possibility of increasing average real weekly earnings of employees in Government service will depend upon preventing inflation, keeping our costs competitive and devoting adequate resources to exports. But it would be quite wrong to forecast a separate figure for the annual increase of one particular section of the community.

We have heard those views before. Will the hon. Gentleman deny or confirm the rumour going round that his right hon. and learned Friend is thinking in terms of trying to work the economy in such a way that we get a 2 per cent. or 2½ per cent.—

Order. It depends on the source of the rumour whether the question is in order not not, but the Minister cannot be asked to confirm or deny a rumour for which he is not responsible.

Is it not a fact that the Government are thinking in terms of getting the economy to work in such a way that there is a 2 per cent. or 2½ per cent. increase in incomes each year? If that is so, how are the workers in industrial establishments under the control of the Government going to have the promise made to them by the Prime Minister fulfilled?

What is true is that if we want to achieve a good rate of growth for industry we must keep the rise in personal incomes in line with rises in the national income.