Lord Stokes, chairman of British Leyland, said last night that the country should stop molly-coddling people from cradle to grave and return to a work ethic. He described subsidizing strikers as “ridiculous”.
He told the Society of Chemical Industry in Birmingham: “I rather think we have got to give more serious attention to considering whether we can afford the welfare ethic any longer and whether we should not return to the work ethic. The key to progress lies not in molly-coddling the nation from the cradle to the grave but rather encouraging and rewarding everybody actually to work more intelligently.”
The greatest blow to national prosperity had been the excessive number of industrial disputes which had stopped production.
“It seems ridiculous that the taxpayer should directly or indirectly subsidize people who voluntarily decide to go on strike “, he said.
While they did that, the problems of pensioners and those on low incomes who were genuinely hard pressed by ever increasing costs, particularly of food, went unrecognised, he said.