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Orders of the Day — Betting Duty (Dog Totes and Football Pools)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th November 1947.

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Photo of Mr Walter Monslow Mr Walter Monslow , Barrow-in-Furness 12:00 am, 12th November 1947

The right hon. Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) has made two rather important declarations during the last few days. He said that the longer the dismissal of the Labour Government is postponed, the worse it will be. I want to contrast that statement with the declaration of the hon. Member for Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser). He said: Britain's industrial production is 10 to 20 per cent. greater than in 1939 and we have more men and women at work than ever before. Britain has made a remarkable recovery from the exhaustion of war and it is time we patted ourselves on the back. We thank the hon. Member for Lonsdale for that admission of the great work done by the Labour Government. What a pity these two Tory spokesmen did not compare their notes before expressing themselves.

The Chancellor dealt very effectively with the statements of the right hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir J. Anderson) both inside and outside the House. The right hon. Gentleman said that food subsidies were a running sore and the Government had acted too hastily in paying even the existing level of pensions and allowances, and that that expenditure should be ruthlessly pruned. The people with fixed incomes—I refer to those with allowances and pensions—can rejoice tonight that we have a Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, for that statement proves beyond any question of doubt the sort of interim Budget we could have expected if it had been introduced by the right hon. Member for the Scottish Universities.

The Chancellor has not only protected the interests of those with pensions and allowances, but he has also protected the great majority of the workers. He has not accepted the dictation of the City and the financial magnates who have been pursuing him for weeks and urging the freezing of wages. That policy would never have been accepted by hon. Members on this side of the House. The decisions taken on Inland Revenue, Customs and Excise Duty should have been taken earlier, and I believe that it would have been more desirable if the Betting Duty had been 20 per cent. instead of 10 per cent. Few Chancellors have framed a Budget amid such insistent advice from their enemies. I am glad the Chancellor has rejected the advice of these self-appointed counsellors.

In this interim Budget, in spite of the economic crisis my right hon. Friend has not placed on the shoulders of the working people more burdens than they can bear. True, it is a deflationary Budget, but not on the lines suggested during recent weeks by the City and by Tory Members. Let us examine what would have happened had hon. Members opposite been in power. Food subsidies and controls would have been removed. There would have been no limitation of profits. There would have been a reduction in the Surtax and a cut in the social services. In the difficult economic crisis through which this country is passing, the Chancellor deserves our highest commendation for keeping in check the wolves who, had they been responsible for the Government today, would have devoured the ordinary men and women.