HC Deb 10 November 1955 vol 545 cc1987-8
20. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that small firms approaching finance corporations for fresh industrial capital are finding increasing difficulties placed in their way following the instructions given by the Treasury in relation to the current credit squeeze; and whether, in view of the fact that this is resulting in the abandonment of a number of promising projects of value to this country's industrial future, he will review the situation and take remedial action at an early date.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Sir Edward Boyle)

The policy of the Government is directed to slowing down the tempo of investment which is not of the greatest national urgency. My right hon. Friend is aware that in consequence some useful projects may have to be postponed, but regrets that this is unavoidable in present circumstances.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Is my hon. Friend aware that many small companies use hire-purchase finance companies to enable them to buy plant and machinery? I have in mind an instance of a purchaser of a diesel tug. Is he also satisfied that the Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation is sufficiently financed to meet the needs of small companies?

Sir E. Boyle

I made a full statement on the whole of this subject in an Adjournment debate on 28th July in response to the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. S. N. Evans), and I have nothing to add to what I then said.

Mr. T. Williams

Is the Economic Secretary aware that agriculture, from which his hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke) wants to take £10 million, is also having difficulty with the credit squeeze?

Sir E. Boyle

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture recently made a public speech about this in which he explained the position quite clearly.

Mr. Shinwell

Is the Economic Secretary aware that this policy will lead to the squeezing out of many small firms? Is that now the avowed policy of the Tory Party?

Sir E. Boyle

Again, I would advise the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) to look at what I said on 28th July. We debated this matter at some length on that day.