30. Mr. H. Wilson
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has formed of the inflationary effects of the recent removal of restrictions on hire purchase.
I cannot put a precise figure on the increase in expenditure, but I have no reason to think that it will be so great as to produce any general excess of demand or generate an inflation in prices.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power was speaking with the Chancellor's authority or not when he said that if these present hire-purchase derestrictions continue they will lead to raging inflation? Is that the view of the Government and, if so, what are the Government going to do about it?
My view, as I have clearly expressed it, is that relaxations on hire purchase will prove useful and helpful in prevailing circumstances and will provide a useful stimulation which will not involve any excessive demand on the economy.
While thanking the Chancellor for the repudiation of the Parliamentary Secretary—as such we must take it—inay I ask if he will make clear to his hon. Friend, when he has settled his other row with him about the statement he made the other day, that on hire-purchase derestriction the Chancellor thinks his action was right?
I am clearly satisfied that my action was right and I shall continue to account to the House for the working out of these policies. I am quite satisfied in the present circumstances that this step was useful, that it will prove helpful in providing employment in certain sectors of the economy where there was surplus capacity and that it will not involve an excessive demand.