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 Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot 12:00 am, 29th October 1947

That is just a childish interruption. I repeat that a team—which I believe the Prime Minister has not got—loyal to one another could trim the national expenditure today by £500–600 million. I admit that a budgetary surplus of that nature might drive up the cost-of-living index, but it is our thought on this side of the House that there must be remissions of taxation, particularly on the lower income scales, and possibly increased social services in order to reduce the incidence on those who earn the least. If there is to be a reversal, and a reduction of inflationary pressure, it is our thought that it may be necessary not only to reduce taxation of the lower income groups, but also to increase the social services.

I must say a word about trade as distinct from industry. Far too little attention has been paid to our invisible exports, which have largely been cancelled by the disastrous policy of His Majesty's Government in relation to overseas expenditure. They have also done everything they can to prevent the recovery of our entrepot trade. If the right hon. Gentleman requires an instance, let him look at the closing of the Liverpool Cotton Exchange, which even on the very niggardly estimate of the Lord President of the Council brought in £1 million of foreign exchange a year. There are many other commodity markets which, partly owing to timidity and partly ignorance, His Majesty's Government are still keeping closed. They should consult the Minister of Supply.

I must say something about the attitude of the Government to the United States of America. The Foreign Secretary, in an extremely ill-judged speech at Southport, began by saying—I suppose this part was on the brief—that it was most necessary for this country to stand upon its own feet and rid itself of the need for American support. All of us in all parts of the House agree with that. He then went on to say that one of the real roads to recovery was that this nation, described by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne as sordid moneylenders—I beg pardon—" shabby moneylenders "—