Counter-Inflationary Policy

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st May 1973.

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Photo of Mr Robert Redmond Mr Robert Redmond , Bolton West 12:00 am, 1st May 1973

asked the Prime Minister if he will invite the Association of British Chambers of Commerce to join future discussions with the CBI and TUC on counter-inflationary policy.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

The Association of British Chambers of Commerce took part in the consultations on stage 2, and will certainly be invited in due course to take part in similar consultations on stage 3.

Photo of Mr Robert Redmond Mr Robert Redmond , Bolton West

I thank the Prime Minister for that reply. Is he aware that, just as there are workers who are not affiliated to the TUC, so there are many firms which are not members of the CBI? Are not chambers of commerce more representative of the 1ΒΌ million small firms which are of tremendous importance to the economy?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

It is because chambers of commerce have an important membership and a considerable part in representing small firms that they were consulted in full detail over stage 2. But one of the points that chambers of commerce have made in correspondence with me is that they also represent a considerable number of large firms. They do not wish it to be thought that their only interests are in the very small trader.

Photo of Mr William Molloy Mr William Molloy , Ealing North

Does the Prime Minister agree that it would help all these organisations and the country at large if he now made a statement that he was prepared to abandon his inflationary policies, which have increased rates, rents and the prices of food, clothing and petrol, and saying decisively that he has made a serious error, that his Government have contributed most to the inflationary spiral and that they will do their best to reverse this policy? After all, they have reversed almost everything else that was contained in their election manifesto. Why not reverse this one as well?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I cannot agree with the hon. Gentleman. If he had any points which had merit, I should willingly consider them. But when the hon. Gentleman makes wide-ranging statements containing no element of truth, I find it difficult to accept what he says.

Photo of Miss Irene Ward Miss Irene Ward , Tynemouth

I thank my right hon. Friend warmly for his reply to the Question, which I also consider will be very helpful in the future. May I take this opportunity to suggest to my right hon. Friend that, in order to have stability in areas, we are anxiously awaiting publication of the Booz-Allen Report on shipbuilding? Can my right hon. Friend do something about that?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

My hon. Friend's interest in the Booz-Allen Report is well known. At the moment I cannot give a specific date for action. We shall take it as soon as possible.