Orders of the Day — European Monetary Agreement Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th January 1959.

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Photo of Mr Jack Diamond Mr Jack Diamond , Gloucester 12:00 am, 28th January 1959

Anyone with experience of what happened as recently as September, 1957—I am not referring to the Gloucester by-election, but to the financial crisis—will not speak too lightly of our need for safeguards in difficult external financial circumstances. If, as I say—and as the banking chairmen seem to agree—we have a period of recession, what steps would we wish to take, and to what extent would those steps be assisted or retarded by what the Government propose to do?

Presumably, the steps we would take to encourage the economic activities of the country would be to lower interest rates; to increase investment; to undertake larger overseas lending; to stimulate increased consumption. All these are the normal steps which would be taken, and I do not think that there will be any argument as to the wisdom of doing these things, were it an appropriate time to do them and we could do so with safety. All these steps are rendered slightly more dangerous by what the Government are proposing.