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Public Ownership

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th December 1971.

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Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton 12:00 am, 10th December 1971

The hon. Gentleman is anticipating some of my later remarks. We will need to be much bolder because we will be faced immediately, on taking office, as we were in 1964 and 1945, with a so-called crisis of confidence, with a flight of capital. [Holy. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I understand this well and it is about time that we all understood it and took the necessary measures to deal with this. That is how patriotic people really are, because as soon as there is a Labour Government out goes the capital. The patriots do not want a Labour Government to make the country successful.

Next time we will deal with the situation, and if we are to do this we will need to control the financial and economic levers of the country. That means we will have to control the City, bring under public ownership the banks, the insurance companies, the finance houses—[HON. MEMBERS: "The building societies?"]—Of course. I am not afraid of it, I do not run away from this, because it is vital. If we are ever to change society in a thoroughly democratic direction, to improve real equality of opportunity to eliminate the class basis of the society which hon. Gentlemen opposite support and represent, we will have to own and control the basic financial and economic levers. While I am in favour of what my right hon. Friend has said and support it, it is a first step and a Labour Government will have to go much further to deal with the issues which will face them.