Orders of the Day — Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th April 1961.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire 12:00 am, 18th April 1961

When we started exporting in 1948, no one expected that within two years we would reach the limit in our export markets. It took nearly two years to establish servicing arrangements in the United States and elsewhere. It was a slow process. But, nevertheless, the thing was started against the will of motor car manufacturers, who now rejoice that it was done because they recognise that exports mean a very big part of their business.

I welcome this more flexible arrangement which has been proposed. While we can criticise it in theory, I think it a much more useful instrument than Bank Rate. Any instrument proposed for this purpose will have criticisms made against it. I shall look forward to the adjustment of taxation up or down between Budgets as a very interesting experiment. I certainly thought it quite wrong that hire purchase should be the instrument mainly used, although it was a very easy and useful instrument. It brought great dangers because after the "let it rip" policy was carried out to provide election advantage it obviously made for trouble when the boom had passed. We cannot spend ten or fifteen years income ahead and expect to remain prosperous.

If we are eating up our seed corn ahead we shall have had it. If a Labour Government had come in would it not have been lovely for the Tories ! All the consumption and income would have been pledged for the years ahead by the Conservative Government. They did not expect to come in at that time so they were landed with their own problem of a financial crisis. That is the result of putting on the accelerator violently then pulling it off and putting on the brake which has been the process ever since the Conservatives came into power.