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Stock Appreciation

Part of Orders of the Day — FINANCE (No. 2) BILL – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th July 1975.

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Photo of Mr David Howell Mr David Howell , Guildford 12:00 am, 16th July 1975

My hon. Friend puts it very clearly. It is Hobson's choice. Either the Government succeed in financing it, in which case the corporate sector will be starved and unemployment will rise, or they do not succeed in doing so, in which case there will be accelerated inflation, the extension of the corporate sector will be prevented and unemployment will rise. Therefore, unless the Government can get a grip on public sector borrowing by other means, they will be in a desperate situation.

Although it is not immediately apparent, unless we are able to cut public expenditure this year and reduce the public sector borrowing requirement long before the £6 limit begins to have any effect on pay settlements in the public sector, the Chief Secretary and the Chancellor will be moving to the position that whichever way they turn and whatever they do will greatly increase the level of unemployment. I suspect that that is the rationale behind the latest Treasury prediction that unemployment will rise to 1½ million next year. That may be far from the point of stock appreciation, but it is not all that far because here we are concerned with getting something back into industry, and these are funds which can be used for investment.

We have had words, semi-words, ambiguities and every other kind of reassurance from the Chief Secretary but we have not yet had a firm undertaking or an indication that stock appreciation relief will remain on the statute book, that there will be no clawing back and that the funds can be used to create jobs for tomorrow. Unless we have that assurance, I advise my hon. Friends to press the new clause to a Division.