It is a matter of urgency for the nation to strengthen the effectiveness of the policy. We are taking every opportunity to urge this on all sections of the nation and to develop the policy in consultation with trade unions and employers.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that in no sense answers Question No. 2? Can he say whether the recorded progress of the gross domestic product and its expected course over the next 12 months justifies a norm of 3 to 3½ per cent., and if not, what is he doing about it?
Surely the right hon. Gentleman must realise that it is a natural and normal thing for the trade unions to press for higher wages? Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that it would be better to concentrate our energies on reforming the wage structure rather than trying to freeze wages and hit the trade unions on the head?
If it were as simple as that, it would have been settled under previous Governments. But it is not as simple as that, nor are we trying to freeze wages. What we are trying to ensure—and I would have thought that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen would have seen the point of this—is that personal incomes rise at a rate no greater than the rise in our national productivity.
With regard to Question No. 37, as it is obvious that the Declaration of Intent has been somewhat superseded, will the right hon. Gentleman consider calling another meeting of trade unionists and employers to consider the former declaration and see whether it can be brought up to date?
Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that instead of trying to fix artificial levels for wages and salaries, which is bound to lead to the continuing stagnation of the economy, he would be better advised to try introducing incentives to the economy which will lead to increases in personal earnings and, therefore, faster growth in the economy?
Nobody is trying to establish an artificial level. The hon. Gentleman must surely at some stage get the point that if we take out by way of personal incomes more than we are together putting in by way of effort inflation is the answer. This is what I am trying to establish. As for the last part, I think that the hon. Gentleman was nearer the mark.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we all agree with him on his last thesis? But would it not be better for him to concentrate more upon increasing national output rather than trying to restrict the amount of money which people should take out at the present low rise in national output?
These things cannot be divorced in that way. We are, in a variety of ways and through the whole gamut of our economic policies, trying to stimulate industry—which means management as well as workers—to increase output and productivity. While we are getting that we cannot dodge the fact that we must try to keep outgoings in accord with input.
Surely the right hon. Gentleman must have some idea of the state of the economy now? Does he not think that the norm should be either increased to reflect the rapid rise in earnings or decreased to reflect the depressing record of productivity?
All incomes of all kinds are, of course, within the norm. This is something which we apply or try to get applied to the rise in the totality of incomes. We have provided, in paragraph 15 of the White Paper, with which my hon. Friend is very familiar, for the exceptional cases. To the extent to which people do not observe that, they are increasing the problems facing the nation and increasing the inflationary pressures on themselves. The principle applies to every possible personal income.