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The only general legislation on this subject consists of two short Acts; the Conciliation Act of 1896 and the Industrial Courts Act of 1919, and in addition there is the Industrial Disputes Order of 1951. The two Acts do not, in my opinion, require consolidation, and, as I have already informed the House, the future of the Industrial Disputes Order is being discussed with both sides of industry.
I should not have thought, after the discussions we have had, that that matter is in particular doubt, and I do not think that the point my hon. Friend has in mind would be helped by the consolidation of the legislation which already exists, consisting of two very short Acts which are quite convenient in that form.
asked the Minister of Labour what consideration he has given to the desirability of legislation to put upon arbitration tribunals a duty to have regard to the economic interests of the general public, in the light of the advice of the Council on Prices, Productivity, and Incomes, when making awards in industrial wage disputes.
It has always been made clear by Chancellors of the Exchequer, including, of course, the present holder of that office, that they consider that those who arbitrate should have regard to a number of matters, of which the one my hon. Friend mentions is clearly one.
Mr. J. T. Price:
With respect to what the Minister has just said, which we all understand, how can it be said that any judicial tribunal can function equitably if, in fact, the scales are loaded against it before it begins to examine the evidence? Can it be said in truth that a judicial tribunal should be given any kind of instruction or guidance from outside when it is sitting in the capacity of judge?
Yes, it has been a long time, and I am aware of my hon. Friend's particular interest in certain bodies which might be brought within the scope of a new Order. I hope that we can make our final proposals known to the country fairly soon.