Clause 3

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th April 1973.

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Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East 12:00 am, 10th April 1973

Of course I made some false predictions a year ago, as the Chancellor did. I pointed out to the House the other day that he told us in last year's Budget that unemployment could not fall if earnings continued to rise; yet we had the biggest fall in unemployment coinciding exactly with the biggest wage explosion in our history.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will address himself to the point I made and the question I put to him about how he will meet a serious balance of payments deficit later in the year. I am not sure that I share the view expressed in The Times, Sunday Telegraph and Financial Times, but those newspapers are widely read by the business community. The Chancellor must take seriously the fact that businessmen take them seriously, and he must not ride off on a single false prediction, which he and I have often made in these debates.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will address himself to the question I put to him. Is he prepared to re-state on this occasion the undertaking he gave the House a year ago that he would not in a future balance of payments crisis sacrifice growth to an unrealistic parity?