Oral Answers to Questions — Chancellor of the Exchequer (Speech)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th February 1964.

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Photo of Mr Woodrow Wyatt Mr Woodrow Wyatt , Bosworth 12:00 am, 25th February 1964

asked the Prime Minister whether the public speech of Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer at Birmingham on Saturday, 18th January, on economic matters represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

Photo of Mr Woodrow Wyatt Mr Woodrow Wyatt , Bosworth

Is the Prime Minister aware that in that speech the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that 1964 was going to be a marvellous year for expansion? He said it again last night. Since the other bouts of expansion we have had in the last 12 years have been promptly followed by wage restraint, credit restriction and a balance of payments crisis, would the Prime Minister say what it is that makes the present period of expansion different from all the others?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will do me the honour of reading the speech I made last night, which corresponded very closely with that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in which I gave the evidence on which we conclude that it is likely that expansion will continue. We said, both of us in our speeches, that should there be undue pressure on the economy, then the Chancellor—[Interruption.]—has the necessary instruments with which to deal with it.

Mr. H. Wilson:

Is the Prime Minister not aware, however, that in the speech referred to the Chancellor stressed the need for an incomes policy and that the Prime Minister, whose speech we did him the honour of studying last night, and on five other occasions, has stressed only wages restraints? Assuming that this is not a Freudian slip repeated six times, would the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether he accepts that with an incomes policy there must be parallel policies in the matter of profits and rents? If so. will he tell us what plans he has to institute a complete reversal of Government policy in these matters?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I do not think that this arises out of the Question. [HON. MEMBERS "Oh."] I have constantly said that of course management and workers must share in an incomes policy, but I wish that the right hon. Gentleman would give us a little more help in keeping wage demands within bounds.

Mr. Wilson:

Is the Prime Minister aware that my question related to rents, which he ducked as he did on Thursday night on television? Secondly, is he not aware when asking for my help in speaking to the trade unions—

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Hirst Mr Geoffrey Hirst , Shipley

Get another drummer.

Mr. Wilson:

I hope that the Prime Minister took note of the question on rents. Is he not aware when asking for my help in talking to the unions that last July at the conference on the Transport and General Workers' Union I made an appeal for an incomes policy? Is he further aware that at the Labour Party conference this was passed by an overwhelming majority, involving all the unions? Will the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is impossible for his Government to make these appeals? [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us how he feels that his Government, of which he has been a prominent member for many years, can make this appeal in view of the pay pause, the interference with collective bargaining and arbitration awards two years ago? [HON. MEMBERS "Oh."] While we are being flattered by the Prime Minister's request that we make an appeal which he cannot make, does he not agree that this is an appeal which can be made only—

Hon. Members:

Speech.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

Order. If we treat the Prime Minister's Question Time as though it were a reception at London Airport we shall make very little headway.

Mr. Wilson:

rose

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

I want the help of the House. The House will be so aggrieved with itself if we do not get through more Questions.

Mr. Wilson:

I know that the Prime Minister is even claiming credit for the Beatles. Will the right hon. Gentleman now agree that this appeal must be made by a Government which in a matter of pay negotiations has clean hands?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Yes, Sir, and that Government is ours.