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Her Majesty's Government (Opposition Motion)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th June 1976.

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Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 12:00 am, 9th June 1976

I am not sure to what figure the hon. Gentleman refers, but what we are hoping to do with these policies is to reduce inflation to something like 7 to 8 per cent. or thereabouts by the end of 1977, which will put us on a level with most of our major competitors. That is an objective well worth reaching, and it is well worth supporting the Government to achieve that.

We all know that the Opposition's policy of confrontation failed. We now have a policy of co-operation and of trying to work things out. Let me ask the Opposition a question. If they could obtain such an agreement, would they be willing to offer in exchange for such an agreement anything—or nothing?

Let me take an example. Let us suppose that there was an industry in distress, with the prospect of a large number of workers being laid off. Let us imagine that such an industry had inadequate financial resources and was in need of drastic reorganisation if it was to face world competition. It could be Rolls-Royce, but it happens to be shipbuilding. Would the Opposition be willing in such circumstances in the national interest to assist the passage of such a Bill to reorganise that industry?