HC Deb 09 March 1954 vol 524 cc1919-20
27. Mr. Osborne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to ensure that the present 10 per cent, slump in the United States of America will not affect the United Kingdom economy in the same way as did the similar slump in 1949 when the £ sterling was devalued; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I cannot improve on the answer given in the speech made by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury in the debate on the industrial situation on 3rd March.

Mr. Osborne

Can the Chancellor say why he has been able to succeed in protecting this country from the worst effects of the American slump and why his Socialist predecessor failed so miserably before?

Mr. Butler

It is the case that although the American slump—that is, the decline in production—has, in fact, been in existence for some months, we are still maintaining our reserves position. I would say in all sincerity to the House, owing to the great difficulties, that it would be a great mistake in a matter like this to generalise any further, as the hon. Gentleman suggests.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Can the Chancellor say to what extent the 10 per cent, slump in America is accentuated by the adoption or non-adoption of the principle of equal pay in the United States?