Relief for Interest

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 11th May 1983.

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Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw Shadow Spokesperson (Treasury) 4:45 pm, 11th May 1983

We are all very glad to have had an opportunity to debate this issue. It has given us a foretaste not least of how the Conservative party intends to conduct its election campaign. Bereft of policies to put this country back to work, to solve the housing crisis or to produce peace in this country, it intends—as we have seen this afternoon—to spend the next four weeks smearing the Labour party with the most extravagant untruths that it can think of. Of course, we should have expected that. There has not been one general election this century when the Conservative party has failed to resort to lies and untruths about the Labour party and its intentions.

We remember the Zinoviev letter in 1924. Indeed, the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Mr. Page) came very close to suggesting that we were being manipulated by the Kremlin because we had moved this amendment. We also remember that, in 1945, the much-respected leader of the Conservative party, Mr. Winston Churchill, conjured up the spectre of a Gestapo if the Labour party came to power. However, when it came to power, it provided greater social benefits and made more changes for the better in our society than had so far been seen this century.

The smear that the Conservative party is putting about, which it knows to be without any foundation, is that the Labour party does not believe in home ownership. That is simply a lie. My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Cook) reminded me that Aneurin Bevan said that every man should own his own house and that no one should own someone else's house. That has always been our position. We see nothing inconsistent in the ownership and extension of individual property while at the same time seeking to ensure that the means of production are utilised to the benefit of society as a whole.