With the greatest respect, Sir Gordon, I am dealing with matters which are relevant to the price of particular domestic utensils concerning which the new Clauses have been put upon the Notice Paper. I am trying to impress on the Economic Secretary that he does not realise what the retention of this very high rate of Purchase Tax on these commodities means, particularly in view of the action of his Government, which is being criminal in the kind of increases imposed on the householder already.
If the right hon. Gentleman really understood the situation he would be anxious to temper the wind to the shorn lamb—shorn by the Government. How can he do that? I appeal to him to take this into consideration. How will he allow the housewife to be in a position to meet what he and his Government have imposed by way of additional expenses on her? The best and immediate way of doing that is to allow something by way of a release from expenditure faced in other directions by that person.
If it were a question of a luxury perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would have a reason for retaining it. He should realise that, although he talks of about £150 million as the sum involved, the money which will have to be found by householders will be very much more. Perhaps I ought not to talk in exaggerated terms—it will be many times more. A duty is placed on the right hon. Gentleman to do all he can to meet the situation.
I suggest that there is nothing unreasonable in this proposed new Clause. On the contrary, it is something which is reasonable, something which ought to be done and something which his Government must do, if they understand the needs of the people, to mitigate the difficulties they have placed on people whose homes are in danger.
If the right hon. Gentleman does not accept this, I say, and I am sure that people throughout the country will say, that he is not only not allowing a reasonable demand made by those interested in these proposals, but is determined that men and women who cannot possibly afford any more shall be prevented from having the normal facilities and standards of life which, hitherto, they have had.
I hope that, in view of the arguments which have been put forward with particular emphasis by my right hon. and hon. Friends, and in a minor way, perhaps, by myself, the right hon. Gentleman will reconsider his decision and come to the conclusion that he must grant the concession for which we ask.