Orders of the Day — Commission for Industry and Manpower Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th April 1970.

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Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn 12:00 am, 8th April 1970

I agree with my hon. Friend. It is time that some hon. Gentlemen opposite grew up. It is obvious that the hon. Gentleman has not read the remarks that I made, particularly in view of what he said about my having boasted about it. It is nothing to do with me that power has passed to the shop floor. I was doing a piece of objective reporting. I have been saying this afternoon that it is management's responsibility to face the facts and follow these new developments down the line and really start on the job of communicating intelligently within industry and facing up to its responsibilities.

It should be obvious that some of the greatest beneficiaries of dominant market power are the trade union negotiators involved. That is why it is essential to retain a power over prices. Firms which abuse their market strength in this way should not be allowed to pass on to the consumer the higher costs that flow from their own inefficiency.

Despite all the brickbats that have been hurled at the P.I.B.—not least from the benches opposite—we are now getting belated recognition from all sides of the great contribution it has made to educating us all in some of the basic economic facts of life. We believe that this vital education work must be continued by the new Commission. It is an uphill road, but we shall not abandon it.