HC Deb 23 June 1953 vol 516 cc1672-3
32. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the continuance of the excess of imports over exports, and in view of the fact that all increases in national and local government expenditure and in wages increase our costs of production and impede or destroy our ability to compete in the markets of the world, he will take steps to restrict increases in expenditure and wages, and issue a White Paper in simple language explaining the' present economic position of the country; and if he will make a statement

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. R. A. Butler)

It has been my constant endeavour, not only in my Budget speech but also on all other suitable occasions, to put the economic situation of the country clearly before the people and in particular to stress the vital necessity of our improving our competitive power in overseas markets. I shall continue to do so and shall continue to take whatever action is open to the Government to maintain economic conditions best calculated to further the efforts of employers and workers to secure higher production and lower costs and to encourage the expansion of exports

Sir W. Smithers

May I ask my right hon. Friend why he will not adopt the suggestion in the Question and tell the people of Britain, including himself, that the principle behind the Budget is the same as the principle behind the budget of the humblest home in the country— that is, that if one spends more than one's income the end must be disaster? Will my right hon. Friend also explain that this is the one country in the world which is not and cannot become self-supporting, and that unless we make whatever efforts are necessary and export goods and services at world competitive prices we are faced with starvation?

Mr. Speaker

That seems to be anticipating the debate on the Finance Bill.