The next meeting of the NEDC in early December will be considering this matter, and, of course, that point of view will be expressed. It is certainly Government policy, although we hope to have more discussion about this, that there should be a very strong bias in favour of the industrial strategy and industrial regeneration of this country. But I do not think that we should rule out entirely some bonus to either public expenditure or private consumption if it seems appropriate. This must be a question of balance in the end. The first priority, I agree with the hon. Gentleman, is the regeneration of British industry.
Will my right hon. Friend discuss with the TUC the use of oil reserves for the purpose of refurbishing the regions from an industrial point of view, and particularly regions of high unemployment, such as Merseyside, as it appears that none of the Government's policies is penetrating that problem?
The first problem is to overcome inflation. That is the No. I priority. The other benefits will begin to flow from that. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment will be making a statement at the end of Questions, I understand, if he catches your eye, Mr. Speaker, about refurbishing industrial areas. Merseyside is a particular case and has, and will continue to have, special attention.
What has happened, I believe, is that a general will has been mobilised in favour of the Government's policy, and I am not surprised that the Opposition actually follow that expression of public opinion.
Is the Prime Minister aware that the settlement with the police and the progress made with the power workers reflect very great credit on the Government's attitude, and that the Conservatives' attempts to exploit the present spate of industrial unrest reflect very great discredit on them and their attitude to the trade unions? The country should bear this in mind at the General Election.
We are fighting a battle that is crucial, and I certainly do not reject or spurn any allies in it. Therefore, I make no attacks on anybody in the matter. I believe that it is vital, and I believe that so far the country is standing together on the issue. Everybody has his own particular interest, but we are an interdependent society—pretty well every- body nowadays is a key worker, whoever he may be. It is our task as a House of Commons and as a country to mobilise the general will against the particular interest.
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Hazel Grove (Mr. Arnold).