Government Policy

Part of Orders of the Day — King's Speech – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th October 1947.

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Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne 12:00 am, 29th October 1947

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean that they sold us their food cheaper than they sold it to the Americans? I do not believe that. Nor do I believe that they sold us their raw materials cheaper than they sold them to the Americans, nor that they sold us their capital goods cheaper than they sold them to American consumers and industry; and we and Europe were caught in this general uncontrolled rise in prices. Having put us in a position in which we had to borrow, and produced a situation in which we had to spend the money in their shops, they then raised the prices against us. That is the situation.

What effect has it had on America? We are all involved in this because economically, at any rate, we are one world. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said yesterday that, of course, the prices rose, and that when one takes off controls, of course, prices will rise. The right hon. Gentleman has got that far in his economic education. They did rise. I have just returned from America and the rise is not 60 per cent. so far as the basic things are concerned, but no or 120 per cent. in 12 months. Meat is 5s. a lb; butter 5s. a lb. They can only get it if they have the 5s. [HON. MEMBERS: "We cannot get it at all."] There are a great many Americans who can go into restaurants and buy steaks at 2½ dollars a time, but the vast mass of the American people cannot do it. With all the abundance that there is in the United States of America, with all their rising production, with their lack of all those scarcity conditions from which we suffer, there are more hungry and ill-nourished Americans than there are hungry and ill-nourished Englishmen; and that is the position in a country where there is no need for it. I thought there would be doubt expressed on the other side of the House as to that statement, but apparently they accept it.