HC Deb 27 March 1956 vol 550 cc1956-7
29. Mr. Lewis

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that Mr. Leslie Newing, of Hamilton Road, Deal, a 60-years-old master builder for almost thirty years, has been forced into bankruptcy by the operation of the credit squeeze; and how far it is the Government's policy to allow small businessmen to be forced into bankruptcy by the operation of the credit squeeze.

Mr. H. Macmillan

The information available to me on this case does not support the implication that the insolvency was attributable to the restriction of credit. It is, of course, no part of the Government's policy that small traders should be forced into bankruptcy, but I could not agree that they should be wholly exempted from the present restriction of credit.

Mr. Lewis

Is the Chancellor of the Exchequer aware that his information is directly contrary to the facts known to the individual concerned? The individual concerned has definitely declared that even as a Tory he regrets that he has been forced out of business by a Tory Government after having been employed as a master man for thirty years? Is it not true that in this case and other cases which could be quoted the Government are forcing small businessmen out of business? Is that not part of the Tory policy?

Mr. Macmillan

I have been carefully into this case. The statement of affairs showed that he had 16 preference creditors for £236 and 24 unsecured creditors for £3,067, with a deficiency of some £1,300; he had a secured overdraft of £700, which the bank had asked him to reduce to £500. In those circumstances there is no question of bank credit having been his difficulty. His difficulty was the very large number of creditors, whom he was unable to meet, on a much higher scale.