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Orders of the Day — Prices and Incomes Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th August 1966.

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Photo of Mr Terence Higgins Mr Terence Higgins , Worthing 12:00 am, 9th August 1966

It was significant that when we discussed in Committee whether or not the word "productivity" was still included in the Government's policy the First Secretary said that it was, that the policy was the productivity, prices and incomes policy; but the word "productivity" does not appear in the title of any of the series of White Papers on this subject.

We have just had a typical reply from the Under-Secretary of State, who says, in effect, "This is a very difficult question, and we do not think that we can possibly face up to it." Nothing is more important in the whole of the policy than that the Government should take a constructive rather than a restrictive line. It was very much the attitude of my hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) that nothing in the Bill is really constructive. For that reason, we on this side of the House believe that the Clause and Amendment which we are now considering are very important.

The productivity arrangements which have been built up in recent years have taken a long time to develop. Even now this is a fragile flower because, as the right hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Cousins) pointed out in Committee, unions do not like to give up the security which they have in restrictive trade practices which were built up in the 1920s and 1930s. Only if they can get the confidence