Clause 25. — (General Provisions as to Operation of Part Iv.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Prices and Incomes Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th August 1966.

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Photo of Mr Peter Crowder Mr Peter Crowder , Ruislip Northwood 12:00 am, 9th August 1966

I propose to detain the House only for a few minutes, and I do not propose to make a Second Reading speech. We have had the advantage of hearing some quite excellent Second Reading speeches from the other side, to which I have listened with great attention. Those who made them were entitled to make them, because the House has been denied a proper Second Reading of the Bill. I wish merely to take up a point made by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) about the breaking of bargains.

I would have thought that the word "bargain" was a kind word and the word" contract" nearer the truth. Where a contract is made and broken damages must always go to the aggrieved party. Certainly in equity thousands and millions of pounds are due in damages because of the Government's broken contracts in respect of the bargains to which he referred.

The First Secretary is a very humane person, and I want to give him one illustration of how the breaking of these contracts is affecting an individual. A young doctor came to me the other day and said that a fortnight ago he signed a contract with a third person which, he said, was to cost him £600 a year which he could not afford. He asked me if the First Secretary meant to break his contract with him because it meant that he would go bankrupt.

What is he to do? Because he has signed a contract, is he to be liable for damages if he breaks it, and should not the Government be liable because they have broken their contract with him?