HC Deb 06 April 1948 vol 449 c38

The Economic Survey gives the provisional estimates for the national income and expenditure for the calendar y ear 1948. It sets out the facts as to our immediate problems and the resources which we estimate will be available to meet our needs. Estimates of this kind, as the Committee will understand, are always bound to be somewhat provisional and uncertain, and, in circumstances such as those which confront us today, they are pretty certain to be subject to revision and correction as the year progresses. It is, however, essential that all those responsible for our production effort, whether as administrators, employers, technicians or workers, should have as full knowledge as is available if they are to join—as we want them to join—with the Government in framing and approving the general strategy of our production.

Since we are, and propose to remain, a democracy, we must remember that the economic plan is not something of which any Government can guarantee the execution. The plan lays down the necessities of the situation—what we, as a nation, must do to get the best results for the people as a whole. In some matters, the Government can assist in bringing about the desired results; in others, it must be for the people themselves to conform voluntarily to the needs of the situation. In framing that plan, we have to examine our requirements as a nation and formulate our current needs. We then have to consider how far those needs can be met, in the light of the various limits set by our dependence upon overseas markets, our own capacity of production, the availability of manpower, and all the other factors which have to he taken into account.