Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th July 1960.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton 12:00 am, 11th July 1960

The hon. Member for Manchester, Cheetham (Mr. H. Lever) always dresses up his fallacies extremely attractively, and he did not fail to do so again today. In the second half of his speech he gave us more mixed metaphors than we had had for some considerable time.

I am sure that the last few worth of his speech are well worth consideration by all his colleagues. The country's view of the Socialist Party's economic policy is that the last time it attempted to lay down a policy it failed so dismally to keep the cost of living steady or to keep confidence in the£that in 1951 there was an economic crisis. That cannot be challenged.

I hope that the rumours about the Chancellor are false, but, when I look at the years of my right hon. Friend's Chancellorship, if, as he said in his speech his main enemy is inflation he can feel satisfied that he has won a complete victory over his main enemy because never at any time that I can remember has a Chancellor of the Exchequer held the cost of living so steady.

As the hon. Member for Cheetham said, quite rightly, my right hon. Friend has had to "fidget about a great deal" but I consider that that is partly because we and the Government are trying to do too much in the way of public expenditure, both revenue and in the capital sector. That is why in this sort of economy we must expect the Chancellor to rein in or spur on his horse at different moments.

When the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) considered this, he expressed the view that the Government were spending about£600 million more in Supply expenditure than was done at the time when my right hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft) resigned, but they ought to spend more. He said that they ought to take over more industries. They ought to nationalise the machine tool industry, and then he had a throw away remark suggesting nationalisation of the motor car industry. Until the Labour Party realises the lesson, which tie hon. Member for Cheetham gave, damaging suggestions of more nationalisation will not make the electorate have morn confidence in the Labour Party.