HC Deb 22 June 1954 vol 529 cc222-3
31. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the fact that currency circulation was£549 million in 1935,£1,628 million in 1951 and£1,891 million in April, 1954, what steps he is taking to arrest this form of inflation.

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

I cannot agree that an increase in the currency circulation is necessarily a form of inflation. It is, however, the constant aim of this Government to check inflation and to keep prices stable.

Sir W. Smithers

Is not the only answer to this question to reduce taxation, to reduce national and local government expenditure and to resist increases in wages, which, unless there is an increase in production, must go down and down in purchasing power?

Mr. Butler

I am fully aware—indeed, I have reduced taxation during my period of office—of the need to reduce local and national expenditure—

Sir W. Smithers

Then mind you do it.

Mr. Butler

—and I am also aware that the best answer to the Question of the hon. Member is the one which I gave.

Mr. Norman Smith

Is the Chancellor aware that during the same period there has been an almost identical proportional increase in the amount of bank deposits, and that whereas bank deposits entail public debt to private persons, currency inflation does not?

Mr. Butler

I am very much obliged to the hon. Member for his disquisition on economics.

Mr. Assheton

Would my right hon. Friend agree that the recent increases in the fiduciary issue gives a certain amount of anxiety to those, who, like the Chancellor, wish to see the cost of living reduced?

Mr. Butler

They may give anxiety, but technically these increases in the circulation over the years referred to certainly have some relation to past inflation. I would not say that the figures as at present evidenced are any evidence of present inflation.