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 William Hamling Mr William Hamling , Woolwich West 12:00 am, 12th March 1973

I hope that my hon. Friend has not been deceived by that propaganda, because I am not deceived by it nor are the housewives. We have seen the way in which food prices have risen in the last two years, and housewives are not deceived even though the Government may appear to be deceiving themselves about what is happening. These are direct consequences of our acceptance of entry into Europe. It is about time in this debate that the real effect of a major part of the Government's policy was understood.

Those who support Tory policies disqualify themselves from putting forward alternatives. Value added tax is yet another consequence of the Government's policy and of entry into Europe. Those who criticise VAT and at the same time support the Common Market policy of the Government disqualify themselves from criticising the consequences of that policy. I say seriously to the Government and to some of my right hon. and hon. Friends that they must honestly face the consequences of these policies. If they support Tory terms for entry into Europe, they must also face the consequences in terms of increased food prices, VAT and the effect on our balance of payments of budgetary contributions. I regard these as major policy matters. When the Press and others are calling for precision in policy, those of us who support the official Opposition line and those of us who oppose the Government's Common Market policy are entitled to expect from our opponents precision in dealing with these policies.