I do not think that it is, nor, in his heart of hearts, does the hon. Gentleman think so, or he would not have shown such temper about having to wait until the autumn for the General Election.
I am dealing with—I am sorry that he is not here—the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. [An HON. MEMBER: "Nor is the Prime Minister"] The Prime Minister did not take part in the debate. I well understand the hen. Gentleman opposite getting a little sensitive about these rising standards of the, life of our people. I think that perhaps most striking is the rise in personal it comes, by which I do not mean—and I anticipate hon. Gentlemen—the rise in incomes of a few rich people but of the great masses of our population. Let me give the Committee the figures.
In 1951, the people in the range of incomes before tax of £750 to £1,000 a year, that is, from £14 10s. a week up to about £1,000 a year, were 819,000. The latest figures we have are for 1961–62. At that time there were nearly 4 million. If we move, up the scale to the bracket of £1,000 to £1,500 a year, the figure rose by eight times from 420,000 in 1951–52 to 3,400,000, and the Committee will appreciate that as those are the 1961–62 figures, must be present figures must be higher still.
The Budget is designed to continue that progress, to enable expansion to be maintained at a rate sustainable without inflation, and to enable us to carry further these improvements on the lines of the White Paper on Public Expenditure up to 1967–68.
No alternative has been offered during the course of these debates, and that is not surprising because financial policy has always been the weakness of the Socialist Party. For whatever reasons, it remains the fact that two out of three Socialist Governments ended in a financial crisis and the only one that did not lasted for only nine months. That was because of their inherent prejudices against so many sources of wealth and their inherent weakness in resisting claims for public expenditure. It brought down two Socialist Governments, and I think that this debate shows that the Socialists have not yet earned the lesson. We shall teach them that lesson tonight in the House and at the polls in the autumn.