ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Return to Stop-Go Policies

Figures published recently on the last bout of economic strains cannot cause the Government much optimism as September, the traditional time of maximum strain on sterling, approaches. Operations of the Bank of England and Federal Reserve Bank raised the sterling exchange rate from July's support level of $2.78 1116 to $2.79 316 when the Prime Minister introduced his deflationary package at home.

Figures published recently on the last bout of economic strains cannot cause the Government much optimism as September, the traditional time of maximum strain on sterling, approaches. Operations of the Bank of England and Federal Reserve Bank raised the sterling exchange rate from July's support level of $2.78 1116 to $2.79 316 when the Prime Minister introduced his deflationary package at home. But now that Central Bank support has been relaxed, the rate has fallen back to $2.78 1316 and it seems not much except further massive Bank support can hold it at even this level.

Unimpressive Measures 
The domestic measures have obviously not impressed those who find sterling undesirably hot to handle, any more than they have entirely cowed British opinion. Ministers are being drafted to give pep talks to sections of the Labour Party, and the Department of Economic Affairs is to make tours to proselytise among key employers and local trade unionists. Yet the junior doctors are still up in arms over the suspension of their formerly accepted pay increase, besieging the middle class press with tales of woe Cless than 3s 6d an hour', they say). Groups of draughtsmen and technicians are threatening strikes, and ASSET, one of the main technical unions, is trying to sue its employers for default on an agreed pay increase. If the white collar unions are making most of the noise, the blue collars have been, at most, hesitant, at least, firmly opposed. The large Right wing unions are trying to organise a vote of negative loyalty to the Government's policies, but with many reservations and qualifications over the punishment to be statutorily meted out to rebels. The Left unions are busily seeing how far they can go with tact enough to prevent pulling the roof in on themselves. The largest union of all, the Transport and General Workers' Union, whose General Secretary, Frank Cousins (a member of the Cabinet till two months ago), opposed wage restraint under the Conservatives now refuses to collaborate in a wage freeze under Labour. All this will come to a head at the Trade Union Congress in early September, where, commentators suggest it will be a close run thing for the Government.

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