Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th March 1973.

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Photo of Mr John Pardoe Mr John Pardoe , North Cornwall 12:00 am, 12th March 1973

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Surrey, East (Mr. William Clark) because I serve as a member of the Select Committee of which he is Chairman. I welcome his remarks on credit income tax. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has not spiked the guns of the Committee. I shall not be revealing any secret if I suggest that I cannot imagine that a majority of the Committee would have been able to suggest that the credits should be paid to the husband.

The Budget does not improve on acquaintance. The Chancellor has said that in his view it is a neutral Budget. The Economist has said that it is an irrelevant Budget. I believe that it is an over-cautious Budget. The Chief Secretary said that the decision was taken to go for growth. That was absolutely right. The Chancellor said much the same thing last week and he obtained his headlines. But has the Chancellor gone for growth? The Budget was introduced in a situation in which business confidence was returning after a period of almost total collapse over a great many years. The essential need of the Budget was to bolster that confidence. I fear that the Chancellor is already giving signs that he may yield to the conservative and overcautious voices behind him.

I accept immediately that it is notoriously difficult to make a Budget judgment, but I think that the Budget will mean that we miss the 5 per cent. growth target at which the Chancellor says he is aiming. I fully support him in that aim.