Balance of Payments

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th October 1988.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Nigel Lawson Mr Nigel Lawson The Chancellor of the Exchequer 12:00 am, 27th October 1988

The Government are certainly very conscious of their responsibility for public sector pay, at least in that part of the public sector where the Government themselves are directly the employer.

As for the wider issue which my hon. Friend raises, he is quite right in pointing out that the tax and prices index gives a more accurate account of the overall cost of living than the retail prices index does. It is certainly true that it is very much in the interests of companies and the economy as a whole that those companies keep firm control of their costs, including their wage costs, but that is a matter that they have to decide in the light of business conditions and in the light of what is happening with their competitors overseas. It is not a matter of being tied to a particular index.