asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will arrange a special meeting of the little National Economic Development Council for the Building Industry to consider the Selective Employment Tax.
A joint meeting of the Economic Development Committees for Building and Civil Engineering was held on 9th May, at the Chairman's suggestion, to consider the effects of the Selective Employment Tax. We expect to receive their views very soon.
Would the hon. Gentleman consider discussing with the "little Neddy" the problems created for firms undertaking fixed-price contracts in the building industry which may take several years to complete, because they have been considerably incensed by the Selective Employment Tax?
We have no evidence of their being incensed. I have no doubt that the "little Neddy" will consider matters of the kind to which he refers.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many firms entered into fixed-price contracts to assist the Government to try to stabilise prices and that they will be reluctant to do so again if this is how they are treated?
Of course, that is on the assumption that there is no possibility of increasing efficiency in the industry, and that I very much doubt.