The purpose of the deputation from the Trades Union Congress which came to see my right hon. Friend was to urge the Government to begin discussions with Civil Service staff representatives on the ways and means by which a start might be made with equal pay on a gradual basis. As my right hon. Friend informed the delegation, he proposes shortly to give a considered reply to a similar request from the Staff Side of the Civil Service National Whitley Council. He has undertaken to inform the Trades Union Congress of the nature of this reply.
What are the Government doing in the matter? Will the Financial Secretary bear in mind that he gave a pledge that this matter would be actively examined, and will he give an assurance that that particular pledge will not disappear through the trap-door which the Prime Minister opens at irregular intervals?
May I ask my hon. Friend if he has been able to convince the trade unions that the Conservative Party are on the level in this matter? May I also ask him if he is aware that the quicker he can make the start, the more likely they are to be permanently convinced?
I hope the hon. Gentleman is taking into account the fact that apart from the Trades Union Congress this House showed itself to be unanimously in favour of early steps being taken in the matter. Several weeks have elapsed, and surely the hon. Gentleman agrees that we have the right to press for an early statement on the matter?
I think that if the hon. Gentleman will consult the answer I have given he will see that we are proceeding on the course outlined by me during that debate.