Orders of the Day — Steel Industry and Road Haulage

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th November 1951.

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Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan , Cardiff South East 12:00 am, 12th November 1951

In "The Commercial Motor," about the middle of 1949. Certainly, when I was in the Ministry of Transport, there were notices there and in some of the smaller trade papers. I have not come here prepared to speak on this, but I can produce them for the hon. Member. I have quoted them before in this House, and it is well known. They are on record, and I am sorry if the hon. Member does not know about it. The second piece of evidence, whether they have responded to that appeal or not, is more up-to-date. After the Election it was Mr. Birch—I suppose his name is familiar to hon. Members—who said, "We now want the fruits of victory." What are the fruits of victory? They have paid for it and that is what they want. The Home Secretary ought not to lend the dignity of his presence—and he has a certain moral integrity—to a shabby, sordid piece of party politics like this.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman dodged the question of Excess Profits Tax. What is to be the proposal? He says this is not purely a question of money. If it is not purely a question of money in the case of road transport, I do not know what else it is; it has nothing to do with efficiency. I know the right hon. and learned Gentleman has no authority to answer me, but let him ask the Chancellor if the Excess Profits Tax is to be 100 per cent. If so, they clearly would not get anything out of re-armament and no one would cavil at that; indeed that is the basis of Excess Profits Tax.

But I want to remind hon. Members of what is going on behind the scenes, outside the House, namely, proposals to revise the basis of taxation of companies' profits. If they can at the same time impose an Excess Profits Tax and alter the basis of taxation of companies' profits so that they pay less and not more to the Revenue—[Interruption.] The right hon. and learned Gentleman need not disappear quite behind the Despatch Box.