HC Deb 19 July 1955 vol 544 cc186-7
11. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will give an assurance that his credit restrictions will not be permitted to hold up progress in the supply of coal and electric power and other services on the urgent supply of which our economic survival may depend.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I can assure the right hon. Member that there will continue to be very close contact between the Government and the boards of the nationalised industries regarding their programmes of essential capital development.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is important to use a selective method in the prevention of expenditure? If his method of a general onslaught, by the raising of interest rates, brings about a reduction in the power supplies which are essential if we are to put this country on the map, may it not have a very serious consequence upon the length of time required for this country to reach its proper place in the world?

Mr. Butler

I am aware that investment in power stations is more important than investment in certain other aspects of the Electricity Authority's programme, but I am quite certain that the various nationalised boards have the importance of priorities in mind.

Mr. Woodburn

Does that mean that the right hon. Gentleman recognises the necessity for a selective rather than general restriction upon credit facilities?

Mr. Butler

I recognise that there is need for intelligence, which exists not only in the boards of the nationalised industries but also in Her Majesty's Government.

Sir H. Butcher

Will my right hon. Friend ask electricity undertakings not to borrow on short-term from the banks so as to lend on hire purchase?

Mr. Butler

We shall have to see about that.

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