HC Deb 29 November 1956 vol 561 cc547-8
2. Mr. Lewis

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much a year he estimates his revenue from oil and petrol duty will be reduced as a result of oil and petrol rationing, and the reduced supply of oil to this country resulting from the blocking of the Suez Canal.

5. Mr. Bence

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the expected loss of revenue in consequence of petrol rationing.

Mr. H. Brooke

I would refer the hon. Members to my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. Hamilton) on 27th November.

Mr. Lewis

Yes, I saw that reply. I cannot remember the number of millions of pounds which are to be lost to the Treasury. Can we have an assurance that the Minister will not try to recoup these losses by putting a further tax on petrol? Is he aware that this Government are continually pushing up the cost of living, and we want no more of it?

Mr. Brooke

The hon. Member is again asking me to anticipate my right hon. Friend's Budget statement.

Mr. Bence

Will the Minister give an assurance that, in this time of shortage and scarcity of petrol, he will not take any steps to increase the price but rather will keep the price controlled?

Mr. Brooke

I am concerned only with the tax aspect. I am not concerned with the price of petrol.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Without anticipating the next Budget, but looking back to the past one, can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Chancellor still thinks that the economy of the country depends upon achieving £100 million savings over and above the figures of the Budget?

Mr. Brooke

What my right hon. Friend told the House a day or two ago was that he was expecting an overall Budget surplus—[HON. MEMBERS: "Overall?"]—a Budget surplus above the line not far short of what he had originally anticipated; and the deficit below the line will certainly be considerably lower.