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Voluntary Early Warning Arrangements

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Labour – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th March 1968.

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Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry 12:00 am, 18th March 1968

asked the Minister of Labour what is the number of civil servants fully employed in examining proposed income increases notified under the voluntary early warning arrangements; and what changes in numbers have taken place since devaluation.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

Twenty officials of my Ministry are fully employed on this work and a larger number spend part of their time on it. There has been no significant change since devaluation.

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry

But since it was the assessment of the Government that the necessity for the prices and incomes policy was enhanced by devaluation, can the hon. Gentleman indicate why there has been no increase in the number of civil servants, and can he indicate whether he expects the number to be increased should the Government seek statutory reinforcement for their policy?

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

It is the Government's view that devaluation made the successful working of the prices and incomes policy all the more important. Before devaluation it was working successfully with the number of civil servants that we then had. Since devaluation it has been working successfully with the same number of civil servants. As to the future number required to operate the policy, that involves a hypothesis, and, therefore, I should not want to comment on it.