HC Deb 04 February 1941 vol 368 cc881-2
Sir H. Williams

I beg to move, in page 13, line 40, to leave out from "may," to "whether," and to insert "each year."

This is a small point, which I raise for the sake of getting a statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The question at issue is whether this matter should be looked at at undetermined intervals or at definite, regular intervals. It may be that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already come to a conclusion administratively, but a declaration may bind not only him, but his successor. I more or less formally move this Amendment in order to have a statement from him.

Sir K. Wood

I will have regard to what my hon. Friend has said. Of course, the other aspect of the matter is that it might very well be in the national interest, at this time particularly, that I should have discretion as to when these estimates are published. It may be undesirable for me to be bound to publish information at definite intervals when it might be of some use to the enemy. There is also something to be said for leaving the power to increase contributions permissive. I should not like to be bound at a particular time to increase charges irrespective of the circumstances which might then obtain. Those are the reasons which led the Government to take their present view of the matter. I hope that my hon. Friend will be satisfied with my reply.

Sir H. Williams

I am perfectly satisfied. I only wanted a declaration of intention. That was my purpose in moving the Amendment, and I now beg to ask leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 17 ordered to stand part of the Bill.