Mr Ken Lomas: Is the Minister aware that early this afternoon he gave a figure of savings amounting to £25 million through the imposition of prescription charges? Does not he now agree that with the additional cost involved it is not worth the candle to do this kind of thing to people who are in need? Will he seriously consider abolishing the whole scheme?
Mr Ken Lomas: In view of the importance which the hon. Gentleman obviously attaches to this part of the Bill, are we to assume that he and his hon. Friends intend to divide the House on this issue? May we have some guidance about that from the Opposition Front Bench?
Mr Ken Lomas: On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, is it not farcical, and does it not bring the House into disrepute, that fewer than 7 per cent. of the Opposition and only one-twelfth of the Liberal Party are here and keeping the House awake at this time in the morning? Is it not time that we tried to bring this farcical situation to an end?
Mr Ken Lomas: Would my hon. Friend agree that a Green Paper on industrial health, safety and welfare would be a tremendous help to hon. Members so that we could try to persuade the Minister to understand our views on this important subject, which may help the First Secretary of State when she formulates her White Paper leading to legislation?
Mr Ken Lomas: Is it possible to give the average rate of increase in the cost of living over the same period?
Mr Ken Lomas: asked the Minister of Transport if he will define the term, "Slow down", which is now displayed on many roads of this country when a hazard is ahead; and if he will substitute for this phrase one which states a maximum speed at which vehicles may travel.
Mr Ken Lomas: Does not my hon. Friend agree that there is a world of difference, in relation to two vehicles, one travelling at 70 m.p.h. and one at 30 m.p.h., in what "Slow down" means? Should there not be a specified speed limit substituted?
Mr Ken Lomas: I cannot understand this single, double or triple somersault which the Opposition seem to be performing. Are they saying that it is wrong that wages should rise and the cost of living should be controlled or that, if they were in power, they would reduce wage levels and allow prices to rise? Is it not a fact that, under this Government, although there is a norm under the prices and incomes...
Mr Ken Lomas: Where?
Mr Ken Lomas: Where has it failed?
Mr Ken Lomas: Where?
Mr Ken Lomas: How can my hon. Friend argue on the one hand that we have done so much wrong and, on the other, accept that wages have risen more than the cost of living and that the Government have kept prices down more than they have wages, and in so doing have recognised that trade unions not only have rights but responsibilities? Is my hon. Friend aware that there are 8 million pensioners in Britain who...
Mr Ken Lomas: I am rather puzzled. Can my hon. Friend tell me any right that is taken away from the trade union movement in the document "In Place of Strife"? On the prices and incomes policy, does not he agree that there is a need to try to get away from a free-for-all society in which only the strong and the militants shall win and the weak and the poor shall go to the wall?
Mr Ken Lomas: Mr. Lomas indicated dissent.
Mr Ken Lomas: Is my hon. Friend saying that, out of the 2,000 cases handled by his Department, 1,950 have complied with the criteria?
Mr Ken Lomas: asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many appointments have been made to the Commission on Industrial Relations; and what its eventual membership will be.
Mr Ken Lomas: Can my right hon. Friend say how long these appointments are for, what are the salaries in each position, and whether she is satisfied that the numbers appointed are sufficient to do the job which the C.I.R. will ask them to undertake?
Mr Ken Lomas: asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what studies of industrial relations problems are currently being undertaken by the Commission on Industrial Relations; and what procedure agreements she has referred to the Commission.
Mr Ken Lomas: May I ask my right hon. Friend which type of industrial problems the initial references to the Commission are likely to involve, and whether she considers that it would be advisable to put the C.I.R. on a statutory basis as soon as possible?
Mr Ken Lomas: Before my hon. Friend moves on to other points, which I am sure will be most important to the Committee, is he saying, in effect, that the result of the Bill may well be that non-voting peers would be opening bazaars and that voting peers would not be able to do so? Could he just enlarge a little on the problems there might be in relation to the three-day waiting period for unemployment...