Clause 1. — (Extension of powers under 9 & 10 Geo. 6 c. 10.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th August 1947.

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Photo of Mrs Bessie Braddock Mrs Bessie Braddock , Liverpool Exchange 12:00 am, 11th August 1947

The patriots are the working class of every type, who suffered all the indignities put upon them by organised capital, who suffered unemployment, and who even now are suffering unemployment—unemployment that cannot be righted at the moment because it is a legacy left over from the past because the whole of the resources of the community have never yet been used for the benefit of the community. What hon. Members opposite are afraid of is that, perhaps, this Government, who were returned to power to see that the whole of the resources of the community should be used for the benefit of the community, may, for the first time, have those resources used for the benefit of the community through the regulations the Government may make.

We have been asked how we are to justify this Bill to the workers of this country. It is always the workers who are referred to. Let me say without any fear of contradiction that it has taken me all my time during the last 18 months to justify the fact that we have not taken these powers and have not insisted that the whole of the resources of the community shall be used in the reconstruction period for the benefit of the community. It takes me all my time to do that when I go into my constituency, where, after the last war, because the whole of the resources of the community were not used, the poverty was of a most dreadful character; and its scars are left on the working class in that community even to this day. They press me every time I go there to say why it is that only a section of us are asked to give everything in order to save this country in an economic crisis. "Why is it that we workers are always asked to produce more?" they ask. There is only a certain amount the workers can stand and the workers can do. Knowing them as I do, living as I do amongst them on every possible occasion—preferring to be with them than with the type of person represented on the other side of the Committee—I know they are concerned, very concerned, as to why we have not used the whole of the resources of the community to get us out of this economic difficulty. We talk here above their heads. They do not understand half of what is said by hon. Members on the other side. They do not understand the Opposition's talking about what the workers think, because it is an entirely new conception to them that anybody representing capitalism, as the Tory representatives do, can be considered to be concerned about the working class. They think that they are concerned only with how much work they can get out of them, and how much profit they can make.