HC Deb 12 June 1956 vol 554 cc237-8
44. Mr. Jay

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what additional steps he is taking to strengthen the defences of the £ sterling.

Mr. H. Macmillan

I have nothing to add to my Budget speech of the 17th April. There are some indications that our general policies are beginning to succeed. The important thing is that they should be allowed to operate freely, and that we should not relax our efforts. Voluntary restraint of incomes will serve us better than compulsory restraint of imports.

Mr. Jay

Is it not the lesson of 1955 and of the other runs on sterling in recent years that it is wise to act early? As the Chancellor tells us that he has no dogmatic objection to control—to the obvious dismay of his supporters—would it not be wiser to take now some of the additional powers which have been suggested today?

Mr. Macmillan

I do not know on quite what experience the right hon. Gentleman draws as to the necessity to act early. Perhaps, he has rather bitter memories. However, I should say that it is exactly what I and my predecessor have done: we have acted early, and if we have, as I think we shall have, the general support of the country, we shall act successfully.

Mr. H. Morrison

Does the right hon. Gentleman think his belief that the Government's economic policy is succeeding is still impressing the minds of the Conservative electors of Tonbridge?

Mr. Macmillan

The right hon. Gentleman is a very old friend and colleague, and I should have thought that was not worthy of his best.