Budget Proposals and Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th April 1959.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Jocelyn Simon Mr Jocelyn Simon , Middlesbrough West 12:00 am, 13th April 1959

What is the use of increasing production if it leads into that sort of difficulty, if it leads to a rise in prices of 12 per cent. which bears in that way on the retirement pensions, and leads to a balance of payments crisis of that nature?

The right hon. Gentleman says, "What about world prices?" That is just his fallacy. We cannot insulate ourselves from the world. The fault of the thinking of the right hon. Gentleman is to imagine that we can operate in a closed economy in which we can control everything.

I turn, finally, to the Opposition's last charge, that this is an electioneering Budget. I find that difficult to reconcile with another put forward, almost in the same breath, that the remissions are going "mostly to the very rich". Those are the words of the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun), but they have been echoed in almost every other speech from that side of the Committee. However, this Budget does not stand alone It is the eighth out of nine Conservative Budgets in which taxation has been reduced, whereas in three out of the seven Budgets of the party opposite taxation was increased, and in the fourth it was at a standstill.

Our own Budgets have reduced the share of the gross national product taken in taxation from 31 per cent. in 1951 to what is likely, after this budget, to he under 25 per cent., a reduction of over one-fifth. This is a reflection of a fundamental article of Conservative faith. We believe that high taxation is a menace. We believe that it leads to waste and extravagance. We believe that it saps initiative and endeavour. We believe that it impairs private and commercial morality. And, most of all, we believe it to be an invasion by the State of the individual's right to spend his own money and thus is a diminution of his liberty. We believe that it should be a principal political aim to reduce the burden of taxation on our people.

This is not the first Conservative Budget to reduce taxation—nor, I trust and believe, will it be the last.