Debate on the Address

Part of Orders of the Day — Queen's Speech – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th November 1957.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Frederic Bennett Mr Frederic Bennett , Torquay 12:00 am, 12th November 1957

I should be happy to be diverted along that line, but I must not allow myself to do so because of the promised need to keep my speech short. When one compares the level of the cost of living, the value of real wages and the value of pensions under the Socialist Government, not one of those factors bears out the claim that the ordinary people were better protected than they are now.

It is said that we have had a great number of production cuts and that that is a crazy way to solve our problems. Now we have had an extremely modest statement by Ministers to the effect that we are doing no more than restraining production from an actual increase in the coming year. I feel, however we may differ over diagnosis, we all agree that the inflation in the time of the Socialist Government was a demand inflation. Yet in 1947 the Socialist Government thought it right, at a time when inflation was caused by a too great demand and a too little supply, to introduce cuts of £200 million in the investment programme, which was 16 per cent. of the total programme for the year. Faced again with a similar economic crisis in 1949, they introduced cuts in the then investment programme of £140 million or 10 per cent. of the total programme for the year. Is it possible now for any Socialist spokesman to attack as wrong, foolish and misplaced the extremely limited pause which we have made in our productive drive and at the same time give no explanation for the savage cuts in investment which the Labour Government made?