HC Deb 26 April 1960 vol 622 cc4-5
5. Mr. Lipton

asked the Minister of Works what expenditure has been incurred by his Department for the Royal Wedding on 6th May next; and what was the expenditure for the Royal Wedding in 1947.

Lord John Hope

The expenditure to be incurred by my Department for the Royal Wedding on 6th May is estimated at about £25,000; £6,000 was spent for the Royal Wedding in 1947.

Mr. Lipton

We tender loyal congratulations, but is not the disparity between these two amounts rather odd? Will the Minister agree that, with the £25,000 on decorations and the £40,000 to be spent on the "Britannia" during her cruise, the Government are overdoing things a bit and causing a certain amount of divided opinion and, in some quarters, critical comment?

Lord John Hope

I must confine myself to what I am responsible for, but I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that that sort of easy comparison with 1947 is really very unfair. Things were very different in those days immediately after the war.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Does the poor old Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has been severely attacked from the benches opposite for not reducing public expenditure, know about this? Is it not setting a bad example to other spending Departments when we are told that public economy is very badly needed at the present time?

Hon. Members: Answer.

Mrs. Castle

Surely the Minister should reply to my hon. Friend. Surely the Minister owes the House some fulley explanation of why this expenditure is being quadrupled, and more than quadrupled, on this occasion? I cannot remember any great dissatisfaction with the preparations in 1947. Surely there will be more dissatisfaction with the excessive expenditure now?

Lord John Hope

There may well not have been dissatisfaction in 1947 because conditions were so different, and were understood to be very different. I should have thought that, taking one thing with another, one could perfectly well say that one would hope that there would not be dissastisfaction now, a great many years later, when things are so different.

Mr. Jay

Is the Minister suggesting that the cost of living has risen sevenfold since 1947?