HC Deb 15 April 1935 vol 300 cc1636-7

Adding together the cost in the present year of these various reliefs, I find that they account for £10,525,000 out of the £11,025,000 which I have at my disposal. The final figures therefore are:

Revenue £734,470,000;
Expenditure £733,970,000.

leaving me with a prospective surplus for the year of £500,000

So I conclude the fourth Budget which I have presented to this Committee; not quite as bountiful a Budget as last year, but yet one carrying a little further the removal of burdens and in particular bringing a larger measure of relief to certain classes who perhaps have not yet enjoyed their full share of our returning prosperity. Their voices may not be as strident as those of some others, but they are none the less deserving of our attention, for the small taxpayer's contribution to the needs of the country has been of the first importance. He has borne the long struggle to provide his contribution, often involving great distress of mind and the sacrifice of the scanty luxuries of his household, with a patience and courage that seem to me to be beyond all praise.

We are framing our requirements to-day at a time of fresh anxiety in Europe. We must recognise that our further progress may be powerfully affected by events over which we have little control. Moreover, we have ever before our eyes those districts, once the seat of our most prosperous industries, which to-day still lie under the shadow of world depression. We must not, we shall not, relax our efforts by any or every measure which offers a reasonable prospect of success to restore them to a position in which they can play their part in the normal life of the nation. But, taking the country as a whole, looking back over these 3½ years, we can see the improvement has been solid, continuous and steady. To that result many things have made their contribution—tariffs, conversion operations, cheap money, balanced Budgets, remissions of taxation. They have done it largely by creating a spirit of confidence. Confidence is the mother of enterprise, and, when it operates upon many individuals and through many channels, it is far and away the most effective form of promoting a general and rapid expansion of economic activities. Broadly speaking, we may say that we have recovered in this country 80 per cent. of our prosperity. Our task is now to win back the remaining 20 per cent. without jeopardising the confidence that we have already established. Given peace abroad and a fair measure of unity at home, I see no reason why we should not during this current year make a further substantial advance towards prosperity, and it is in that conviction that I have framed my Budget Estimates.