HC Deb 14 April 1930 vol 237 cc2680-1

And now, Sir, I have finished. I have encroached on the time of the Committee rather less than is usual upon such an occasion. I have tried to avoid controversial matters and I have eschewed rhetoric and tried to give the Committee a plain business statement, and, I hope, indeed, that I have made it as clear as possible. The Committee now knows the worst. I have had a difficult and an unenviable task. In facing the inevitable increase of taxation I have Keen guided by two principles. As long as I hold this position I am determined, however burdensome it may be, that the country shall pay its way by honest methods. I will not leave my successor to meet my bills. In imposing additional taxation I have done so by placing the burden on the shoulders best able to bear the weight. I have imposed no direct burden on industry; neither have I taken from the poorest of the land any part of their inadequate means. The additional taxation will fall upon a class to whom it will mean no deprivation of the necessaries of life nor even of reasonable luxuries and amenities. I am asking only that the favoured section of the community shall contribute to the needs of the State in proportion to the benefits the State has conferred upon them.

On the other hand, I realise the imperative need of the strictest national economy in the present state of trade and industry, not only to provide employment and comfort for our people, but because primarily it is only from trade and commerce that the national revenue can be derived. I abate not one jot or tittle in my lifelong advocacy of great schemes of social reform and national reconstruction, but our immediate concern is to make these things ultimately possible out of revived and prosperous industry. To that we must first direct our efforts and devote what resources we can afford to that remunerative purpose.