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Clause 2. — References of Questions to the Board

Part of Orders of the Day — Prices and Incomes Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th August 1966.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton 12:00 am, 9th August 1966

I suppose that we are all agreed, at least in theory, that we should get rid of restrictive practices, but it is naive to imagine that Mr. Aubrey Jones' Board is likely to be able to uproot these ancient and deeply rooted practices, which are rooted in ancient fears, especially when we are passing a Bill which will reinforce those fears. One has to look to the cause of restrictive practices. Basically, it is fear of unemployment. It is the fear that there will not be enough work to go round. Gradually, since the war, over a long period of full employment, this fear has declined, but it is still a deeply rooted fear for organised labour, and one which can be revived suddenly and strongly.

We are now doing all the things to revive that fear. If hon. Members opposite imagine that a reference to Mr. Aubrey Jones will do what 20 years of full employment have failed to do, in the circumstances of reversing that full employment policy, they are a little naive.

We must also consider the other effect of the Bill. There is only one way, judging from American experience, of getting rid of restrictive practices. It is management's job. Management's instrument for doing that is pay. If we are to get rid of restrictive practices, we will have to buy our way out; this is precisely what the Bill will prevent. In America, where they have not far short of double our productivity——