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Dividends

Volume 721: debated on Thursday 25 November 1965

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5.

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will refer to the National Board for Prices and Incomes the current trends in the payment of dividends, either in general terms or in specific cases.

18.

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs whether he will refer recent dividend increases to the National Board for Prices and Incomes for their investigation.

The trend of dividend payments is one of the questions which will be studied by the N.E.D.C. in the course of their forthcoming review of the general movement of prices and money incomes of all kinds.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that Answer does not inspire any kind of confidence? Is he further aware that this is a matter of urgency? Is it not the case that he will not get the agreement of ordinary manual workers unless and until some reference is made to the Board of dividends and profits? Will my right hon. Friend, in particular, look at the profits and dividends of the building materials industry which I think is worth close investigation?

I think I must have misheard my hon. Friend's first sentence. As to the second part of the supplementary, may I draw his attention to the figures I gave about the movement of dividends in the second quarter of this year after I had issued a warning, as compared with the first quarter. As to the third part of the supplementary, we have in mind the question of building materials as a possible subject. I am thinking here not so much of dividends as prices and costs.