Clause 11. — (Surtax: Reliefs for Earned Income.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th June 1961.

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Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth 12:00 am, 7th June 1961

I bow to your Ruling, Mr. Thomas. After 10 years spent in examining the records of the Conservative Party, I do not think that anything that we may say will greatly alter the outlook and attitude of hon. Members opposite.

What is particularly important is that at some stage in the development of the nation the people of Britain must realise how they have been hoodwinked during the last 10 years. In reference to the average weekly earnings of industrial workers, the figure of £14–£15 is very misleading. Millions governed by wages councils set up by Parliament have wage rates below the £9 mark. Many are in trades where they have no opportunity of adding to the basic rate. Even if we turn to voluntary agreements on joint industrial councils and other bodies, we find millions below the average figure.

The hon. Member for Middleton and Prestwich talked about the tax changes which had taken place and which had had an effect on the lower-paid workers. But, as my hon. Friend the Member for Wallsend (Mr. McKay) clearly showed, many of those who will benefit from the operation of the Clause will get two or three times as much per week in Surtax concessions as the people to whom I have referred are getting from doing an honest week's work.

If that is the kind of society that hon. Members opposite want they should cut out the cant and humbug from their election addresses and really tell us what they are aiming at. What they are doing is merely retaining the power, privilege and profit which has been theirs not only over the last 10 years but for centuries. The facts about the Government's economic policy given to us are very sketchy. If we have to accept them, we have to say that they apply not to the second half of the twentieth century but to the latter part of the nineteenth century. Our real quarrel with Toryism is not so much this or that aspect of policy but that hon. Members opposite are completely out of touch with the world in which we live. In short, they are completely unfitted to lead a great industrial nation in the second half of the twentieth century.