Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Prices and Wages

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th May 1957.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West 12:00 am, 9th May 1957

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a special appeal to industry this year for the stabilisation of prices as a contribution to overcoming inflation.

Photo of Mr Nigel Birch Mr Nigel Birch , Flintshire West

The appeals already made by Her Majesty's Government for restraint in prices and wages still stand.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

Is the Minister aware that unless these appeals have some material effect, and unless the Government encourage policies which will have some effect, it is no use asking any body of workers for a wage freeze until they have that kind of stabilisation?

Hon. Members:

Answer

Mr. H. Wilson:

Even if the right hon. Gentleman will not answer that, will he answer this question? Is it still the Government's policy that the request to the nationalised industries to freeze their prices for a period ending this spring should be continued for a further period and that private industry should also maintain such a price freeze as it introduced last year? Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether the Government's policy is still as stated in the Prime Minister's "plateau" speech at Newcastle last May?

Photo of Mr Nigel Birch Mr Nigel Birch , Flintshire West

As the right hon. Gentleman is aware, the nationalised industries are under a statutory obligation, taking one year with another, to pay their way. They must have regard to that, but the general policy of restraint, of course, continues.

Photo of Mr Hugh Gaitskell Mr Hugh Gaitskell , Leeds South

If that is the case, it was also the case last year. Could the right hon. Gentleman not give a further explanation of this point for the guidance of the nationalised industries?

Photo of Mr Nigel Birch Mr Nigel Birch , Flintshire West

The nationalised industries get their guidance from the Minister of Power.

Photo of Mr Hugh Gaitskell Mr Hugh Gaitskell , Leeds South

In that case, surely the House of Commons should be informed. Are we to understand that the Minister of Power has given a direction to the nationalised industries and that this has not been made public?

Hon. Members:

Answer.

Photo of Mr George Lindgren Mr George Lindgren , Wellingborough

As a contribution within their own power, will the Government consider withdrawing the Rent Bill and so avoid increases of rents and of wages?