HC Deb 05 March 1957 vol 566 cc168-9
26. Mr. Beswick

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, bearing in mind the great value of the Report of the Macmillan Committee on Finance and Industry, and in view of the changes that have since taken place, he will consider recommending the appointment of a Royal Commission with similar terms of reference to inquire into the present working and efficiency of our financial system.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) on 12th February.

Mr. Beswick

Cannot the Chancellor be a little more forthcoming? Does he not agree that, to say the least of it, it is illogical that we should have all these inquiries into manufacturing industry and all these efforts made to increase productivity, when whatever improvements are made can be more than offset by inefficiency or worse in the working of our financial system? In view of the opinions expressed by hon. Members of all parties, will he have another look at the matter?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I will certainly bear the hon. Gentleman's suggestion in mind, but at the moment I have nothing to add to what was said in his last Budget statement by my right hon. Friend who is now the Prime Minister.

Mr. H. Wilson

In view of the apparently warm-hearted references by the former Chancellor in his Budget statement, in one of the many now apparently meaningless sections of that Budget statement, are we to take it that nothing has been done after all these months since the present Prime Minister said he thought that it appeared to be a good idea? Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the operations of monetary policy over the last two or three years have shown that many old-fashioned ideas and shibboleths no longer apply and that there really is a need for an up-to-date and impartial inquiry into the working of many aspects of the monetary system?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I am merely saying that I have nothing to add at the moment to what has already been said on this subject. I will certainly bear in mind the points which have been raised.

Mr. Grimond

When the Chancellor is thinking further about this matter, will he particularly bear in mind the quite changed situation of this country in regard to the rest of the world, for instance, by the formation of the sterling area, the need for capital formation in the Commonwealth, and the position of our reserves, as well as the vital need to have some instrument to take the place of the credit squeeze?