Minister of Labour (Television Interview)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Power – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st February 1966.

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Photo of Mr Ian Gilmour Mr Ian Gilmour , Norfolk Central 12:00 am, 1st February 1966

asked the Prime Minister whether the statement made by the Minister of Labour, on the subject of productivity and the use of manpower, in an interview shown on the 8.50 p.m. British Broadcasting Corporation television news on 5th January represents the Government's policy.

Photo of Mr Ian Gilmour Mr Ian Gilmour , Norfolk Central

Why for the last three months has production been two points lower than it was last January?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I am always trying to help the hon. Gentleman with his questions. The answer is that, as the hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well, the measures that we had to take last year to deal with the balance of payments crisis, which had essentially to be short-term measures because there were no other weapons left to us by the departing Government, were such that they did, and inevitably had to, lead to some restriction in production. This is the reason why, until we can get the other measures working for greater productivity in industry, production has not risen as we all hope it is going to.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

What is the Prime Minister going to do to answer the accusation of his right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour that he and his colleagues are drifting and dreaming?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

That was not indeed my right hon. Friend's accusation. His accusation was that for very many years now we have had this dilemma, which the right hon. Gentleman not only did not know how to solve in office but still does not know how to solve in opposition, that when we get out of the stagnation into which they plunged us for so many years we run into balance of payments difficulties.