HC Deb 10 June 1947 vol 438 c864
47. Mrs. Castle

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give an assurance that he will not try to effect savings in dollar expenditure by cuts in imports of essential foods, or by refusal to buy increased quantities where these become available.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Dalton)

No, Sir. I cannot give an assurance in such general terms.

Mrs. Castle

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, if we are to make a success of the production drive, it is very important to maintain and, where possible, to improve our supplies of essential foods; and will he at least give an assurance that every form of luxury dollar expenditure will be ruthlessly pruned before basic food purchases are cut?

Mr. Dalton

I hope the hon. Lady will set an example by stopping smoking.

Mr. Michael Foot

In view of the supreme importance of this subject, will the Chancellor consider arrangements for a Debate in this House on the various items of dollar expenditure, so that we may compare one with another, before he considers making cuts in dollar expenditure on food?

Mr. Dalton

In this House, that is a matter upon which a Question should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council.

Mr. Foot

Is it not possible for the Chancellor to make any representations to the Lord President of the Council?

Mr. Wyatt

Would my right hon. Friend give an assurance that when he is considering any saving of dollar expenditure which may be necessary he will use all his influence to see that the first cuts are on our troops overseas and not on food for our homes?

Sir Waldron Smithers

Why did not the Chancellor answer this Question by saying: "We are up against it. Work or want"?