Cbi and TUC

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th July 1976.

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Photo of Mr John Hannam Mr John Hannam , Exeter

asked the Prime Minister when he last met the CBI and the TUC.

Photo of Mr Nigel Lawson Mr Nigel Lawson , Blaby

asked the Prime Minister when he last met the TUC and the CBI.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I refer the hon. Members to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Blackpool, South (Mr. Blaker) on 27th May.

Photo of Mr Robert Adley Mr Robert Adley , Christchurch and Lymington

If some members of the TUC and some Labour Members below the Gangway should revolt against the forthcoming cuts in public expenditure, will the Prime Minister unequivocally welcome support from the Opposition side of the House, from wherever it may come, and will he ensure that the decision of Parliament, whatever it may be, is upheld by the Government?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I lead the Labour Party and the Labour Government. It will be upon Labour votes that I shall depend in any policies that I place before this House.

Photo of Mr Max Madden Mr Max Madden , Sowerby

Will my right hon. Friend confirm rumours circulating this afternoon that a subsidiary of Lonrho is to be advanced considerable funds to acquire Brentford Nylons? If that is so, how can my right hon. Friend reconcile it with the recent publication of a report dealing with highly disturbing matters concerning that company, and the fact that this afternoon it is indicating bumper profits?

Photo of Mr Nigel Lawson Mr Nigel Lawson , Blaby

Since the Prime Minister is so fond of praising the TUC for the sacrifice it has allegedly made in accepting stage 2 of the Government's incomes policy, will he tell us precisely what sacrifice the unionised 45 per cent. of the national work force is making that the non-unionised 55 per cent. is not making? Is it not the case that the trade unions have deliberately framed the policy so that, by and large, their members will suffer relatively less and the rest of the work force, including middle management, will suffer relatively more?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I do not think that any of that is true, and the hon. Gentleman is not helping by putting about that kind of allegation. The TUC has made a pay agreement voluntarily among its members, which is unexampled and has received far more praise from foreign countries—who are more objective—than from the Opposition Benches. Because of that agreement, we are on the way to single-figure inflation and our industry and exports have better chances than they have had for many years.