HC Deb 09 April 1940 vol 359 c465
58. Mr. J. Wilmot

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it was with his authority that Lord Stamp, economic adviser to the Government, addressed a Press conference at the Ministry of Information on Monday, 1st April, at which he made certain statements regarding future taxation policy?

Sir J. Simon

I was aware that the Ministry of Information proposed to arrange a Press conference on economic issues, excluding budgetary and financial matters, and to a conference which observed these limitations I took no objection. I am informed that it was explained at the outset that the talk would be confined to economic issues; for this reason, and because it is well known that any statements about future taxation policy made in advance of the Budget are without authority, there would be no justification for interpreting what was said on this occasion as in any way indicative of such policy.

Mr. Wilmot

Does the Chancellor think it is good public policy that a person occupying so high a position, and concerned with financial matters, should make statements on financial subjects without consulting the Chancellor, which statements subsequently had to be repudiated?

Sir J. Simon

If the hon. Member will study my original answer he will see that I have explained what were the limits of this conference.

Mr. Craven-Ellis

Is it not the case that Lord Stamp's statement was to the effect that if £12 a week men did not accept additional taxation they would have to submit to compulsory savings?

Sir J. Simon

I have not the least idea.