Hydrocarbon Oil etc.

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th July 1979.

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Photo of Mr Ioan Evans Mr Ioan Evans , Aberdare 12:00 am, 4th July 1979

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that this was an opportunity Budget, but it is an "Opportunity Knocks" Budget. It gives an opportunity to the profiteer—the oil companies—and the national asset stripper, when public corporations are handed over to private enterprise. It knocks the consumer. Its VAT provision knocks the housewife and these taxes are knocking the motorist.

The Government have been asked whether the increases are to raise revenue or conserve energy. There is an oil crisis, and that was discussed at the Tokyo conference. The Prime Minister went to Tokyo in an RAF transport plane. It would have been a gesture of the right hon. Lady's concern for oil conservation if she had travelled by British Airways. She would have been practising what she preached, although I believe that it is good for world leaders to get together to discuss such problems.

If Ministers are concerned about energy conservation, instead of coming to the House in Daimlers and Rolls-Royces, they should come in British Leyland Minis or other small vehicles. That would also cut down public expenditure.