Public Expenditure

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th March 1977.

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Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , East Surrey 12:00 am, 17th March 1977

I wish the hon. Gentleman would try to take some kind of sensible view of these facts. If he recollects the position, the oil crisis had struck the country in the autumn of 1973. The then Chancellor of the Exchequer, in December 1973, introduced a substantial series of public expenditure cuts. He got precious little thanks from the House, certainly not from Labour Members. The first thing that the present Government did when they came into office was to reverse those cuts and to embark on a massive spending spree. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not true"] It is true. The responsibility for our present economic condition—the hon. Gentleman has made this point on many occasions—follows from the three years of rake's progress following the election of this Government.