House of Commons debates

Tuesday, 6 April 1954

  • Preamble

    The House met at Half past Two o'Clock

  • Prayers

    [Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair]

  • Private Business

  • Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland

    • Wind-blown Timber

      7 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a further statement on the progress made in dealing with the gale-blown timber in the North-East of Scotland; and whether he expects it...

    • Atomic Energy Research (Industrial Development)

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland for a detailed statement as to his plans for industrial development in Scotland flowing from the projected atomic energy reactor station at Dounreay,...

      National Records and Archives (Indexing)

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to have the national records and archives of Scotland indexed and made readily accessible to the poets, historians, biographers,...

      Fishmeal and Oil Factory, Peterhead

      7 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that no further progress has been made with the construction of the fishmeal and oil factory at Peterhead; and what is the cause of...

      Damages Awards (Interest)

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that under Scottish law relating to actions for damages for negligence interest at 5 per cent, on the amount of damages awarded runs only...

      Raemore Grazings, Lairg (Use)

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that Raemore grazings on Gruids Farm, Lairg, Sutherland, are to be used by the Forestry Commission for growing trees; and, in view of the...

      Potato Harvesting (Mechanical Aids)

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what research is now being carried on for the purpose of producing an efficient mechanical potato harvester.

      River Forth (Pollution)

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress has been made in the prevention of pollution of the River Forth; whether he is aware that oil and tar discharges are threatening to destroy...

      Monkland Canal (Report)

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress has been made towards meeting the representations of Coatbridge with regard to the Monkland Canal.

      Anti-Haemoglobin Serum

      2 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is satisfied that surgeons operating on haemophiliacs in Scotland are fully informed on, and have accessible supplies of, anti-haemoglobin serum...

      New Hospital, Peebles

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when it is intended to replace the present War Memorial Hospital in Peebles.

      Legal Aid (Old-Age Pensioners)

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will introduce legislation to amend the Legal Aid Act so that old-age pensioners in receipt of National Assistance can be defended in cases where...

      Old People's Homes, Glasgow

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many elderly people are presently resident in homes provided by Glasgow Corporation with his financial assistance; and what additional accommodation...

      Approved Schools (Costs)

      8 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the main reasons for the increase from 54s. to 66s. in the weekly contribution payable by education authorities in respect of a child or young person...

      Civil Defence (Hydrogen Bomb)

      5 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, in view of the fact that the new hydrogen bomb is 600 times more powerful than the atom bomb, what new instructions he proposes to issue to Civil...

      Mental Hospital Patients (Financial Assets)

      3 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how far his regulations permit the superintendent of a mental hospital in Scotland to assume responsibility for the financial assets of one of his...

      Air Survey

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will arrange for a comprehensive aerial survey of Scotland with modern micro-magnetic instruments as well as photographs in order more fully...

      Slaughtering Facilities

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is satisfied that there will be adequate slaughtering facilities in the North of Scotland when the new system of meat marketing begins.

      "Galloway Mazer" (Export)

      3 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what submissions have been made to the Waverley Committee on the future of the "Galloway Mazer."

      Crofting Commission (Report)

      2 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when the Report of the Crofting Commission will be published.

      Norwegian Factory Ships

      10 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has any information to give the House regarding the use of factory ships in Scottish waters for converting surplus herring into oil and meal.

  • Oral Answers to Questions — Education, Scotland

    • Technical College Grants (Apprentices)

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what financial considerations he applies which prevent an apprentice in the county of Peebles from qualifying for a grant to attend the Heriot Watt or...

    • Nursery Schools, Glasgow

      6 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the annual cost of nursery schools in Glasgow; and what is the amount recovered in charges.

      Teachers (Status)

      3 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in view of the increasing anxiety among parents and teachers concerning overcrowded classes, the lowering of teaching standards, and the decline...

  • Oral Answers to Questions — Housing, Scotland

    • Overspill Populations

      6 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has given consideration to the application to Scotland of a Town Development Act; or what similar assistance he proposes for Scotland.

    • Rents (Old-age Pensioners)

      3 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will set up a working party to investigate what effect the proposals for increasing rents will have upon the cost of living for old-age pensioners...

      Special Housing Association (Direct Labour)

      31 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has considered representations from the Scottish National Building Trades' Federation and the Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Scottish...

  • Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Defence

    • Sea Cadet's Death, Essex

      4 speeches

      asked the Parliamentary Secretary to tie Ministry of Defence if his attention has been called to the recent death of a sea cadet in Essex, accidentally shot during rifle practice, and to the...

    • New Rifle

      4 speeches

      asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence what progress is being made with the manufacture and issue of the new rifle.

      Educational Attainments

      4 speeches

      asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence what educational attainments qualify entrants to the Services to be classified in standard six.

  • Oral Answers to Questions — British Army

    • Trooper's Funeral, Germany (Notification to Parents)

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for War if he will now make a statement on the circumstances in which the body of Trooper B. A. Brown was buried in Germany, without proper notification to his...

    • National Service Men (Middle East Postings)

      6 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for War the minimum age and the period of training which must previously have been served before a soldier can be sent to the Middle East.

      Courts-Martial (Committee Recommendations)

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for War how many of the recommendations of the Lewis Committee on Courts-Martial have not yet been implemented in the Army, and why they have not been implemented.

      British Troops, Colonial Territories (Costs)

      7 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for War (1) to what extent the cost of maintaining British troops in Colonial Territories falls on the British, and on the colonial, taxpayer, respectively; (2) to...

      Youth Employment Service

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for War what liaison he maintains with the Youth Employment Service.

      Coal (Whitewashing)

      5 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for War whether the practice of whitewashing coal, which has been brought to his attention by the hon. Member for Harrow, East, has now been expressly forbidden as a...

      Infantry Training

      12 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for War to what extent officers and non-commissioned officers returning from Korea, Malaya or Kenya, are being used to train the Regular Army in modern battle tactics.

      "Empire Windrush" (Loss)

      5 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for War if he will give an undertaking that all persons travelling on thess. "Empire Windrush" who suffered loss because of the fire on that vessel, and whose...

      Church Parades

      4 speeches

      asked the Secretary of State for War why Queen's Regulations relating to church parades have been consistently contravened in Southern Command; and why, upon this being brought to his attention,...

  • Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Food (Future)

    7 speeches

    asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied that the recent rate of progress in derationing foodstuffs and winding up the trading affairs of the Ministry of Food will make it possible to close...

  • Oral Answers to Questions — Hydrogen Bomb

    10 speeches

    asked the Prime Minister what British observers were present at the recent hydrogen bomb experiments in the Pacific.

  • Oral Answers to Questions — President Eisenhower

    4 speeches

    asked the Prime Minister whether he will extend an invitation to President Eisenhower to visit this country for the purpose of discussing with him present international difficulties and, in...

  • Oral Answers to Questions — East-West Trade

    4 speeches

    asked the Prime Minister whether he will request the resignation of the President of the Board of Trade for failure to implement Her Majesty's Government policy of expanding East-West trade.

  • Orders of the Day — Ways and Means

    Considered in Committee.

  • Orders of the Day — Budget Proposals

    1 speech

    3.31 p.m.

    • Review of 1953–54

      The objective of my first Budget was to rectify and strengthen our balance of payments. This was done. The tasks for the 1953 Budget were to continue to fortify our overseas account and to seize...

    • Balance of Payments

      A year ago I told the Committee that the sterling area must as a whole be at least in balance with the rest of the world. As the Committee already knows, the sterling area converted a huge...

      Gold and Dollar Reserves

      As a result of the sterling area's achievement, the gold and dollar reserves rose during 1953 by £240 million, to a total of £899 million. The Committee should know that in the first...

      Exports

      One of the most significant developments affecting our own balance of payments has been the further movement of the terms of trade in our favour. One result of this has been—and the...

      The Home Front

      What is more encouraging is that we have been able to combine this external progress with a considerable expansion in production and improvement of living standards at home. Over 1953 as a whole...

      Employment

      The expansion in output has been accompanied by a high and stable level of employment. The total of unemployed in Great Britain fell from 453,000 in January, 1953, to 373,000 in January, 1954. At...

      Exchequer Out-Turn

      I will now summarise the main items of the Exchequer Accounts in traditional manner for the past year. Total revenue amounted to £4,368 million. This, I may point out, is, in total, exactly...

      Revenue

      Inland Revenue duties amounted to £2,340 million against the estimate of £2,436 million, that is £96 million less. The shortfall occurred in Income Tax, Profits Tax and Excess...

      Expenditure

      Now for expenditure. Consolidated Fund Services, at £674 million, were £1 million more than I estimated in the Budget. Expenditure on Supply Services was forecast at £3,586...

      Summary of Out-Turn

      My Budget estimate, the Committee will remember, was a surplus above the line of £109 million. The actual result was a surplus of £94 million, within £15 million of the estimate....

      National Debt

      This sum has, of course, had to be met by Exchequer borrowing. The National Debt at 31st March last stood at a total of £26,583 million, an increase of £531 million over the year. The...

      National Savings

      It is right, however, that I should at this point acknowledge the valuable support which the Exchequer received in 1953 from the National Savings Movement. I assure their leaders and voluntary...

      Summary of 1953–54

      That, I think, is sufficient of figures for 1953–54. But in bidding farewell to that year, I think I may claim that its results, as I have tried to summarise them, provide ample...

      Prospects for 1954–55

      In looking at the prospects for 1954–55, let me begin with the conventional above the line Budget, in ordinary Exchequer terms.

      Revenue for 1954–55

      I estimate that revenue on the basis of existing taxation will amount to £4,537 million, an increase of £169 million over the out-turn in 1953–54. Inland Revenue duties in...

      Expenditure for 1954–55

      I put total expenditure above the line for 1954–55 at £4,523 million, an increase of £264 million on the original estimate for 1953–54. This, of course, allows for the...

      Government Expenditure

      I will take Government expenditure first. The continuing rise in Government expenditure is serious enough in itself. On the income side we must recall that by next year most of the revenue from...

      Defence Expenditure

      Defence expenditure, before crediting United States aid, is estimated at £1,640 million, or roughly the same as the corresponding figure in the original Estimates for last year. But the...

      Food and Agriculture

      Now for the outlook in food and agriculture. On food there is expenditure of £229 million and, as I have already indicated, revenue which amounts to £110 million. This year consumer...

      Social Services

      The next large group is that if the social services. The provision here amounts to no less than £1,327 million— an increase of £63 million over the corresponding provision in the...

      External Prospects

      Our first task, then, is to control our expenditure at home. But I come now to the other purpose which I mentioned and which I now examine. The aims of the Budget must take account also of our...

      U.S. External Economic Policy

      Our task will be all the easier if world trade itself expands. Since the meeting of Prime Ministers on economic policy at the end of 1952, the Commonwealth as a whole has been working steadily to...

      Budget Objectives

      I must now make my judgment of the prospects for 1954 as a whole. Although what happens in other countries may affect us vitally, it is the level of our internal demand which exerts the major...

      Home Prospects

      Let us look at the main elements of demand at home. In real terms, Government expenditure on goods and services in 1954 will be rather higher than in 1953. The volume of consumers' expenditure...

      Monetary Policy

      Now for a word on monetary policy. In considering the measures which we need to take, I have made my dispositions this year, as I made them last year, in the knowledge that my Budget will have...

      Final Appreciation

      My judgment is, therefore, that we shall continue to maintain a very reasonable balance in the economy. But I think also that we should not commit ourselves too far in advance. The economy should...

      Post-War Credits

      Like every Member of the Committee, I receive constant appeals for a more generous release of post-war credits. Behind many of these letters lie circumstances of personal distress which the...

      Entertainments Duty

      I am aware of the need for some modification of the Entertainments Duty. Most of the revenue from this duty comes from the cinemas, which account for some £37 million out of a total, of...

      Chicory

      I am also raising the Customs duty on imported chicory by 5s. 9d. a cwt. Full details of the change are given in the White Paper. This increase in duty is not concerned with revenue...

      Purchase Tax

      On this occasion, as I said some time ago, I do not propose making any changes in the rates of Purchase Tax. I gave due notice of this, and I do not regret the action which I took. But one of the...

      Key Industry Duty

      I also propose to continue for five years the Key. Industry Duty which would otherwise have come to an end next August.

      Company Reconstructions

      In the field of Inland Revenue there are some details to which I wish to refer. I propose, first, to counter a device whereby company reconstruction has been used to obtain taxation advantages....

      Estate Duty

      I undertook last year to review anomalies in the Estate Duty, particularly anomalies arising in connection with what is known as the "assets basis" of valuation for controlling interests in...

      Tucker Committees

      I propose also to implement some more of the minor reliefs recommended by the first Tucker Committee. The second Committee which was set up under Mr. Millard Tucker's chairman- ship to deal with...

      Investment Allowances

      I now wish to end, as I began, with our primary need: that is, to improve our competitive power. In my survey of last year I have already commented on the inadequate level of investment by...

      Conclusion

      Let me now make the final review of our national accounts. The Committee will already have realised that my proposals, which yield a surplus of £10 million, will still leave the Budget as it...

      Customs and Excise

      1. Entertainments (Excise)

      Third Scale

      1. Where the amount of the payment, excluding the amount of duty, is an amount mentioned in the following Table, the rate of duty shall be the amount therein specified in relation to that payment.

      Purchase Tax

      4. Purchase tax (Miscellaneous amendments)

      Income Tax

      5. Charge of income tax for 1954–55

      Profits Tax

      11. Profits tax (Charges consequential on income tax amendments)

      Estate Duty

      12. Estate duty (Valuation of certain company shares or debentures and assets)

      General

      140 speeches

      16. Amendment of law

  • Orders of the Day — National Coal Board (Ex-Employee)

    4 speeches

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn." —[Mr. Kaberry.]

What is this?

Debates in the House of Commons are an opportunity for MPs from all parties to scrutinise government legislation and raise important local, national or topical issues.

And sometimes to shout at each other.

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