Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd May 1966.

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Photo of Mr William Wilkins Mr William Wilkins , Bristol South 12:00 am, 3rd May 1966

I concede to the hon. Gentleman that from time to time he has had outbursts of clarity on subjects of this kind, very often much to the discomfiture of his own Front Bench. He may be right, but he may be wrong, when he says that that is the reason why he remains on the back benches.

I claim that it is only since the advent of the Labour Government in 1964 that we have tried to tackle this problem fundamentally at its roots, and with not a little success. It is this policy which the Chancellor now proposes to continue, because we believe that in the last two years it has paid some dividends.

When I hear the hon. Member for Louth critical of a Chancellor who has had both the courage and the determination at least to begin to institute tax reforms, it makes me wonder. Not the least of the troubles which we are encountering in the country was encouraged by Tory Chancellors of the Exchequer for 13 years. One has only to listen to the criticisms which one hears, especially at General Elections, about allowing betting shops at almost every street corner. I remember saying, at the time when Mr. Harold Macmillan was Chancellor of the Exchequer and when he brought in his Premium Bonds, that it was the beginning of the process of encouraging people to believe that it was possible to get rich quick. to indulge in that sort of thing and to make money if one was lucky.

There is only one remedy for the ills of this country and I have never ceased to say so on public platforms. It is all very well for the hon. Member for Louth to challenge us, but I have always tried to make it absolutely clear that the country can survive only when it becomes self sufficient and its economy pays its way. No one can accuse my hon. Friends of not facing this responsibility.

I suppose that the Tories are pretty hard pressed to be critical of this Budget.