Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that these modest increases, which his action has prevented these workers from receiving, would not have compensated them for the increase in the cost of living between their last increase and today's date? Does he not think that a Government which gives substantial tax concessions to people earning over £1,000 a year, and freezes the wages of workers who are getting less than £6 a week, is a Government which, in the interests of decency and justice, ought to be got rid of as soon as possible?
The hon. Member will not expect me to agree with his last observation—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I can only say that if he does his expectations will not be realised. I should like to point out to the hon. Gentleman that I explained to the House on the last occasion the dilemma in which I am placed in having only two courses before me. It is not my fault that, when I reach the conclusion which ultimately I reach, I cannot date it back. That is the fault of the Act which has laid the task upon me and limited my powers.
I am not attempting to do anything of the sort. What I did was this. I thought that it was right to ensure that in these wages councils, as elsewhere, the observations of my right hon. Friend on the serious economic situation should be borne in mind before a decision was reached. That was why I did it.