Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th October 1976.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr David Marquand Mr David Marquand , Ashfield 12:00 am, 11th October 1976

No, I do not; but I think that they should and could be lower than the present rate and that the rate of inflation could be lower also.

Secondly, I believe that we have to grasp what for everybody in the Labour Party is an extremely unpleasant and distasteful nettle—namely, that there is no way of reducing interest rates without reducing the public sector borrowing requirement, either by higher taxation or by further cuts in public expenditure, or both. That is an extremely unpleasant remark for me to have to make, and I take no pleasure in making it, but we must face that fact. Unless we do, we shall have no hope of getting business confidence revived and the longer-term problems of the economy faced.

Thirdly—this is something that the Tory Party will find distasteful—if sacrifices are to be made—and there is no question but that real incomes will fall further next year whatever policy the Government adopt—we must demonstrate to the people of this country that those sacrifices will be fairly shared and that there will be greater equality in the distribution of income and of wealth in our society than we have yet achieved. I do not accept the Conservative argument about high taxation. I believe that high income earners can be expected to make a higher contribution in a state of national austerity. It is not possible for me to ask my constituents—the coal miners of Ashfield—to accept austerity and sacrifices when they can see gross inequalities and injustices in society.