Oral Answers to Questions — Court of Session and High Court of Justiciary

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th March 1979.

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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, 14th March 1979

I agree that the question how these policies develop is of great importance. The arguments that have now gone home to some of our Common Market colleagues are the growth of unemployment in their countries, the sight that they have of industrial difficulties, with industries that are running down, and the fact that some of the great towns and cities of Europe—I shall not name any of them—are infected with some of the same social tensions and problems as we have seen to a lesser degree in our country. They are ripe for the argument that it is time to change the priorities and devote more attention to these matters that cause unemployment.

It was probably right 20 years ago, when agriculture was in a fairly depressed state, to spend a great deal of time and attention on the restructuring of agriculture. Even now it is the Government's intention to attack not the fundamental objectives of the agriculture policy but its excesses, which have brought the policy into disrepute.