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Retail Price Index

Volume 972: debated on Monday 29 October 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he has requested the retail prices index advisory committee to examine any changes in, or weighting of, the matters affecting the make up of the retail price index since 3 May; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will publish in the

Official Report the present membership of the retail prices index advisory committee, showing any changes which have been made since May.

The retail prices index advisory committee is convened and its membership established at such times as the Secretary of State for Employment wishes to seek its advice on matters relating to the index. Since 3 May 1979 there have been no plans to change the method of constructing the index and therefore no matters to put to the committee. When it was last convened in November 1977 the membership was:

Mr. A. R. Thatcher, CB—Director of Statistics, Department of Employment (Chairman).
Mr. S. H. Ainsworth—Co-operative Union Ltd.
Professor Sir Roy Allen, CBE—Professor of Statistics, London University.
Professor A. J. Brown—Professor of Economics, Leeds University.
Mr. R. F. Fowler, CBE—Former Director of Statistical Research, Department of Employment.
Professor A. R. Ilersic—Professor of Social Studies, London University.
Alderman Mrs. P. Jacob, JP—National Federation of Women's Institutes.
Mr. D. E. Lea—Trades Union Congress General Council.
Lady Morris, OBE.
Dr. J. F. Pickering—Consumers' Association.
Mr. B. T. Ramm—Retail Consortium.
Mr. T. A. Swinden—Confederation of British Industries.
Professor Brinley Thomas, CBE—Director, Manpower Research Unit, University College, Cardiff.
Mr A. H. J. Baines—Chief Statistician, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
Miss M. P. Brown—Under Secretary (Economics), H.M. Treasury.
Mr. A. G. Carruthers—Deputy Director of Statistics, Department of Employment.
Mr. P. Duncan—Statistician, Scottish Office.
Mr. J. Hibbert—Assistant Director, Central Statistical Office.
Mr. O. T. Hooker—Senior Economic Adviser, Welsh Office.
Mr. M. Neifield—Chief Statistician, Department of Trade, Industry and Prices and Consumer Protection.
Dr. A. T. Park—Director, Statistics and Economics Unit, Department of Finance. Northern Ireland.
Mr. A. R. Smith—Director of Statistics and Research, Department of Health and Social Security.
Mr. W. H. Stott—Chief Statistician, Department of the Environment and Transport.
Mr. E. Hunter—Secretary, Department of Employment.
Mr. D. J. Sellwood—Assistant Secretary, Department of Employment.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment to what extent his Department is assisting the 1979 campaign to inform employers of how to meet their responsibilities for the employment of disabled people; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 26 October 1979, c. 335]: My Department is giving its fullest possible support to the Manpower Services Commission's 1979 "Fit for Work" campaign. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment formally launched the campaign and the MSC's new award scheme when opening the mobile train exhibition on 17 September at Marylebone, and my noble Friend the Minister of State closed the exhibition at Leicester on 18 October after it had successfully completed its five-week tour of 12 major cities. The Department issued press notices publicising and supporting the campaign. I am glad to say that the campaign has also had the personal support of my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Industry and the Minister of State with responsibility for the disabled.The object of the campaign is to promote constructive attitudes by employers, trades unions and workers towards the employment and career development of disabled people and to encourage the use of MSC's facilities to help them in this. The campaign already has the support of a wide range of influential people and the MSC is seeking to ensure the co-operation of employers and trade unionists to make it a success in the short term by getting them to look afresh at their policies and practices, and in the long term by providing a climate in which equal opportunities are given to disabled people at work, both in respect of the numbers in jobs and, through promotion and career developments, in the quality of the work they do.I am informed by the MSC that the campaign has been widely publicised in the press and on radio and television and that over 200 local presentations to employers and trade unionists throughout the country will also be taking place to help promote its theme that "disabled workers are good workers". The MSC is also hoping to arrange a display in the Upper Waiting Room of the House for the benefit of hon. Members.The MSC's new award scheme for firms who do most to implement exemplary employment policies towards disabled people has secured the patronage of 19 leading employers and trade unionists, including the director general of the CBI—Sir John Methven—and the general secretary of the TUC, Mr. Len Murray.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will seek to establish a system of public commendation to employers who pursue successful policies in the employment of disabled people and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 26 October 1979, c. 335]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) on 4 July, which announced the intention of the Manpower Services Commission to establish a scheme of annual awards to firms for exemplary policies and practices in the employment of disabled people. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment formally opened the award scheme when he launched the MSC's "Fit for Work" campaign on 17 September.I am informed by the MSC that the purpose and scope of the award scheme, which has secured the patronage of 19 leading employers and trade unionists, has been widely published in the course of its current "Fit for Work" campaign on behalf of disabled people in the employment field. In particular, full details, together with guidance on the application of positive policies on the employment of disabled people and information on how the services available through MSC can help, have been sent to over 75,000 firms nationwide.

Firms may apply direct for one of the 100 available awards that will be presented annually to those who, in the 12 months ended 31 March, have done most to further the employment prospects of disabled people. Nominations can also be made by local chambers of commerce, employers' associations, trades unions and voluntary bodies. The first awards will be made in the second half of 1980. The grant of an award will last for three years.

Applications will be judged by an independent committee which will include representatives of CBI, TUC, the national advisory council on employment of disabled people—NACEDP—and will be chaired by Mr. Geoffrey Gilbertson, chairman of NACEDP and of the "Fit for Work" award scheme.