Orders of the Day — Prices and Incomes Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st May 1968.

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Photo of Mr Charles Pannell Mr Charles Pannell , Leeds West 12:00 am, 21st May 1968

My hon. Friend may not know what he is talking about but I know what I am talking about. It is a form of import control to lay a 15 per cent. surcharge. On face value, we can hardly go in for import controls if we are putting all our money on an export boom which we think is going to fructify next year. Trade is a two-way street.

In considering the penal Clauses in the Bill, I have been through the speeches made since 1964 about this aspect and I have read all the gloomy prognostications. None of them have come true. There have not been any prosecutions under the penal Clauses. Nobody has gone to prison and nobody has had heavy fines lobbed on him, although that was the stock in trade of the weekend speeches made at that time. I have always held, as I said at the time, that this whole matter depends on a great deal of voluntary control. I have always regarded the statutory powers as reserve powers for the potential maverick, because there is always a minority making it hard for the majority.