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Tuc And Cbi (Talks)

Volume 895: debated on Thursday 17 July 1975

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Q2.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his most recent discussions with the TUC and the CBI.

I have been asked to reply.

I refer my hon. Friend to the statement which my right hon. Friend made to the House on 11th July.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the support of the NUM Executive for the Government's anti-inflation policy is welcome news? Does he accept that a reduction in the level of unemployment, particularly in the regions, is crucial to the success of the Government's economic policies? Will the Government take a fresh look at all their regional policies?

I agree with what my hon. Friend said. I am sure that all hon. Members on both sides of the House will welcome the decision made by the miners this morning. In reply to my hon. Friend's second point, I agree with him that the whole object of our policy is to try to cure inflation without inducing mass unemployment.

Will the Leader of the House tell the House whether the talks with the TUC and the CBI have touched on matters concerning the Employment Protection Bill, relating to exemptions from employees' rights similar to the exemptions from contract obligations in the White Paper, which may be necessary if the policy is to be carried out successfully?

I am afraid that that is a question which the right hon. Gentleman must address to my right hon. Friend. I am afraid that I do not know.

Will my right hon. Friend tell the House the Government's plans regarding the temporary employment subsidy scheme? When will it be introduced, and when shall we know the full details of the scheme?

This is a matter which I imagine will be relevant—subject to your ruling, Mr. Speaker—to some of our debates which I am shortly to announce for next week. At the moment these powers are in the Employment Protection Bill.

Was the CBI consulted and did it give its agreement to the role of monitoring wage settlements jointly with the TUC, as allotted to it in the White Paper?

That role has not been allotted to the CBI. That is not putting the matter quite correctly. As I understand it, the TUC and the CBI agreed to try to work out arrangements for monitoring settlements and informing the Government of them. I understand that it was an agreement in which both sides acquiesced—namely, to set up a monitoring body.