HC Deb 17 July 1952 vol 503 cc2306-7
6. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is satisfied that the import restrictions already imposed and export prospects will enable us to realise a favourable trade balance in the second half of this year, or whether further restrictions on imports are contemplated.

12. Mr. F. Willey

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what further import cuts he is proposing to make; and of what total amount.

The Minister of State for Economic Affairs (Sir Arthur Salter)

This and all other relevant matters will be dealt with in the forthcoming debate on economic questions.

Mr. Shepherd

Is my right hon. Friend able to say when this forthcoming debate is due to arrive?

Sir A. Salter

Before Parliament rises for the summer.

Mr. Willey

While agreeing that we have heard this before, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman realises that there is a good deal of speculation about this matter, and that this speculation is very unhealthy in present circumstances?

Mr. Jay

In view of the Prime Minister's speculations yesterday, does the right hon. Gentleman not think that it would be better in future if statements on this subject were to be made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and not in a series of contradictory pronouncements by Lord Swinton and the Prime Minister?

Sir A. Salter

In answer to the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey), I think it is reasonable to suggest that a question of policy of this kind, which is to be dealt with in a very few days in a long debate in this House, should not be prejudiced by an attempt at anticipation today. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman's question really needs any answer from me.

Mr. Jay

In view of that, can we know why the Prime Minister made an attempt at anticipation yesterday?

Sir A. Salter

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would put down a Question to the Prime Minister. He certainly must not expect me to gild the lily or put a gloss upon the Prime Minister's words.