Clause 2. — (Power for the Treasury to borrow.)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 5th August 1942.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

I have listened with some surprise to the speech of the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker). I do not think I have ever heard more inaccuracies in such a short time, in so many words, about so little. What the hon. Gentleman really proposes is that all depositors in the Post Office Savings Bank should have their rate of interest cut by one-half per cent., and probably a large proportion of his constituents have deposits in the Post Office Savings Bank. People have been asked, in good faith, to subscribe to War Savings Certificates on which the present rate of interest is 3 per cent., free of Income Tax, or in effect, 6 per cent. The hon. Member proposes to this Committee that we should tell the millions of people who have subscribed on those terms, that faith will be broken with them.

The hon. Member spoke of people making sacrifices. The other day he was asking for an extra 3s. a day for coal-miners. I have not the slightest objection to the coalminers having it, but what is the use, in those circumstances, of talking about sacrifices, and what is the use of saying that the rich man—I do not happen to belong to that category myself—makes no sacrifices? The so-called rich man has had his income cut in half since the war started; some have had their incomes cut by nine-tenths. Broadly speaking, the only people who cannot subscribe a shilling towards War Savings Certificates, or any other form of national investment, are the people called millionaires, because their pre-war commitments exceed their net income. It is sheer hypocrisy to suggest that people who are getting perhaps twice the money that they got before the war, are making sacrifices. There is no sacrifice in such a case, and it is dishonest, if not unfair, to the people of this country, in the present condition of things, to make a speech of the kind to which we have just listened.