HC Deb 02 February 1960 vol 616 cc785-6
32. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total amount of financial assistance provided in the form of subsidies and loans to private industry and agriculture since 1951; and what sums have been returned to the Government either in capital or interest.

Mr. Amory

Between 1st April, 1951, and 31st March, 1959, subsidies to private industry and agriculture amounted to £2,311 million. In the same period, loans granted to private industry and agriculture amounted to £84 million and repayments of capital and interest, including repayments in respect of certain loans granted prior to 1st April, 1951, amounted to £38 million.

Mr. Shinwell

Are not these vast sums out of the taxpayer's pocket rather too high? Is this not rather lavish expenditure in view of the fact that only £38 million has been returned to the Exchequer? In view of the need for subsidies and loans to privately-owned industry, why do we have these complaints about investment in nationalised industries?

Mr. Amory

The main reason for the fact that only £38 million out of £84 million has been repaid is that, substantially, that is all that is yet due for repayment under the arrangements. As to whether the sum is too big or not, I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that in his Government's day there were enormous sums paid in subsidies and they did not produce the results which my Government have produced.

Mr. Tiley

Would my right hon. Friend give the House the amount collected in taxation from the profits which these farmers and industrialists have produced over the same period? We should then see that many thousands, indeed, millions, more was received than was paid in these subsidies.

Mr. Amory

I could not give my hon. Friend the precise sum, but I can say that I have benefited a little from that source.