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Terms and Conditions of Service

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Service – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th December 1980.

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Photo of Mr Ian Wrigglesworth Mr Ian Wrigglesworth , Teesside Thornaby 12:00 am, 10th December 1980

asked the Minister for the Civil Service when last he met representatives of the staff side of the National Whitley Council to discuss terms and conditions of service.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

My right hon. and noble Friend the Lord President of the Council and I last met the Council of Civil Service Unions on 1 August to discuss Civil Service pay. I do, of course, see representatives of the union side regularly on everyday business matters.

Photo of Mr Ian Wrigglesworth Mr Ian Wrigglesworth , Teesside Thornaby

Has the Minister discussed with the Council of Civil Service Unions the remarks made by the Prime Minister, which were published at the weekend, about index-linked pensions? Will he assure the House that those remarks do not pre-empt the findings of the Scott inquiry into index-linked pensions, as that would make the inquiry a waste of public funds and be an insult to those taking part in it? Can he assure retired public service pensioners that their pensions will not be affected? Is he aware that they planned their retirement on the basis of their pensions? Even if a change is made in pensions for existing servants of the Crown, will he assure us that that will not affect those who have already retired?

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister yesterday to my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook), when she said that we must await the Scott inquiry before taking decisions on any of these matters.

Photo of Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne , Knutsford

Does my right hon. Friend agree that this might be a good moment to get shot of the whole ludicrous principle of comparability in the negotiation of public sector wages, including the Civil Service, for good and for all?

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

I note my hon. Friend's remarks. Perhaps we should await the Scott inquiry and consider the position in the light of that.

Photo of Mr Ken Woolmer Mr Ken Woolmer , Batley and Morley

Will the Minister confirm that the important matter of index-linked pensions affects not only 385,000 dependants and retired civil servants but more than 1½ million public service dependants and retired workers, including Health Service workers, policemen, firemen, the Armed Services and so on? Does he not feel that the remarks being made by the Prime Minister and by others of his colleagues can only be unsettling, not only to existing workers but especially to retired people? Is it not time that we stopped sabre-rattling and at least reassured retired people?

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

I agree that it is an important matter that affects the categories of people that the hon. Gentleman recited. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said yesterday in the House that we must await the Scott inquiry report. That seems to be sensible.