Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd April 1976.

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Photo of Mr Ernest Perry Mr Ernest Perry , Wandsworth Battersea South 12:00 am, 2nd April 1976

I congratulate the hon. Member for Romford (Mr. Neubert) on his good fortune once again in winning a place in the Ballot for a motion on a Friday. I believe that this is the second time the hon. Gentleman has won it since he has been a Member of the House.

The hon. Gentleman's actions and those of his party somewhat belie the terms of the motion. He asks the Government to intervene and do something about increased investment in industry. Every time the Government try to do this in any of our major industries, however, the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends do everything they possibly can to prevent the Government carrying out such a policy. What the hon. Gentleman said in his speech bore no real relationship to his motion.

At one stage in his speech the hon. Gentleman referred to the report last weekend from the Cambridge Economics Group, and its gloomy predictions for this country. I think that the hon. Gentleman surpassed the Cambridge Economists with his own gloomy predictions for the country in the very near future, although he is not usually the sort of Member to adopt a very gloomy attitude. This morning, however, the hon. Gentleman has been spreading gloom rather like a farmer spreads muck on his fields. I am surprised that at a time like this, just before the Budget, we should find ourselves listening to a gloomy speech of that type.

In just a few moments the hon. Gentleman glossed over such matters as taxation, investment, the Price Code, the oil crisis, profitability, unemployment, productivity and dividend restraint. He went through all those subjects extremely rapidly as though they were of secondary importance and could be dismissed in moments. However, each of the subjects on which he touched is sufficiently important to justify a motion to itself and for the House to spend a day discussing it.

I took exception to several of the items which the hon. Gentleman discussed. He sought to blame our ills on the ordinary person below the executive class. He spoke of people getting a full week's pay for half a week's work.