Orders of the Day — Finance Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th April 1952.

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Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan , Cardiff South East 12:00 am, 7th April 1952

If the Chancellor of the Exchequer believes that his Government's miserable failure over the last six months has had nothing to do with the results in Saffron Walden, he is even more of a political innocent than I believe him to be. He knows very well that his Government's broken promises and record are such that if the Conservative Party were to go to the country today they would be turned out of office.

The Financial Secretary told us that this was a balance of payments Finance Bill. Where? What Clause in this Bill will help us overcome our balance of payments crisis? Is it the Entertainments Duty Clause? Is it making the cricket spectator pay more so that the speedway spectator can pay less? Will that balance our payments? Is it the increase in the petrol tax? Will making those who are having to travel to work by bus pay more in fares help us balance our payments? Is it the new D scheme? Will that help us balance our payments? No. There are very few provisions in this Bill which help us to overcome our balance of payments difficulties. Indeed, our criticism of the Bill which has been introduced, and of the Budget which it is proposed to represent, is that they are quite irrelevant to the major difficulties which this country has to face.

What the Bill does is redistribute income and wealth. That has been the purpose of many Budgets since I have been in the House and was the purpose of many Budgets before I came into the House, but this Budget is different. This Budget and this Bill redistribute wealth in such a way that those who were poor become poorer and those who were rich become richer.