§ 3.39 p.m.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Stafford Cripps)
As the Committee is aware, it has been arranged this year to discuss the Economic Survey at the same time as the Budget proposals, and the arrangement will, I think, be of convenience both to the Committee and to the country. It means, I am afraid, that in opening these two closely linked subjects I shall have to detain the Committee for rather a long time.
Government expenditure and revenue ought not to be considered in isolation from their effects upon the general economic prospects of the country, nor can any survey of the economic situation of the country be complete without a knowledge of the Government's Budget proposals. The combination under a single Minister of the co-ordination of our external and internal economy with the control of Government expenditure and revenue was an important change in our planning machinery. The new task of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not merely to balance the Budget; it is a much wider one—to match our resources against our needs so that the main features of our economy may be worked out for the benefit of the community as a whole.
This means that the Budget must be complementary to, and, indeed, in some sense a part of the National Economic Plan. It will, therefore, be convenient to the Committee, I hope, if I deal with the subject matter of this speech in the following order: First, I will draw attention to some of the more important aspects of the Economic Survey. I will then pass on to the out-turn of the 1947–48 Budget, and then to an examination of the prospects for 1948–49 on the basis of the present taxation. Finally, I will state the proposals for new taxation or for remission of taxation which form part of the present Budget.