HC Deb 23 April 1940 vol 360 cc87-8

I had hoped very much that when my time came to an end it would be said that I never made a long speech as Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is difficult to get over the ground more rapidly, but I have now completed my main task and would like, in two or three sentences only, to pick out from this mass of details and figures two or three outstanding features. The first is this: This total of £1,234,000,000, which I am now seeking to get from revenue this year, contains a larger figure drawn from taxation than has ever been raised in 12 months in the history of British finance. Yet it is inevitable, when total expenditure mounts at the pace set by modern warfare, that taxation should not entirely keep step with it. We are bound this year, according to my calculations, to contemplate an expenditure which is at least £850,000,000 more than that of the preceding year. Towards this I am drawing from revenue £185,000,000 more than the revenue of last year, with the prospect of a further increased yield in the following year. What is the conclusion? It is this: Saving, and the lending of savings to the State, must be proportionately increased. It is an essential part of our war policy that this should be achieved.

Provided that the zeal and persistence of our people in supporting Government loans equals the fortitude and resolution of our people in paying Government taxes, we have nothing to fear; and our financial front will hold as firmly as does every other front in the fight for victory and freedom.