HC Deb 15 June 1954 vol 528 cc1723-4
33. Mr. Jay

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make an estimate of the level of dividends in the first few months of 1954, compared with the same months of 1953; and whether he is satisfied that the restraint, for which he has asked, is being observed.

Sir W. Smithers

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Before this Question is answered, may I ask if the Chancellor of the Exchequer has inquired whether the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) was among those who voted for a 50 per cent. increase in the House of Commons dividends?

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of order. It has nothing to do with the Question either.

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

The shareholders' gross return on invested capital for the first five months of 1954 was about 6 per cent. compared with about 5.4 per cent. for the same period last year. In reply to the second part of the Question, I would refer the right hon. Gentleman to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Economic Secretary gave to the hon. Member for Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) on 1st June.

Mr. Jay

In view of the very marked increase in dividends, does the Chancellor of the Exchequer think that he is justified in delaying any longer the increase in old-age pensions that he promised?

Mr. Butler

I have already made some observations on the very important matter of old-age pensions, which I will not repeat this afternoon, but I do not see that the two matters are as closely connected as the right hon. Gentleman makes out.