HC Deb 19 July 1960 vol 627 cc244-5
38. Mr. Hirst

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he now proposes to take to exercise a tighter control over the level of Government expenditure.

Mr. Amory

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister reminded the House on 30th June that decisions on Government policies involving expenditure, like all other decisions, are the collective responsibility of the Government. I would refer my hon. Friend in detail to what I said on this subject in my Budget statement and when moving the Second Reading of the Finance Bill. I would also remind him of my statement at the end of last month about the programme of expenditure on investment in the public sector.

Mr. Hirst

That is all right as far as it goes, but is my right hon. Friend aware that no one is less happy than I that he has not been as successful in this field as he has in so many other parts of the economy? Will he undertake to consider with his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister what additional machinery can be evolved to ensure that there is a maximum level of expenditure in the economy and that expenditure does not rise in leaps and bounds, thereby either preventing worth-while reductions in taxation or a cut-back in investment?

Mr. Amory

I think it is unlikely that my hon. Friend and I will find ouselves in complete harmony on these matters. I think that on some of them the best thing that my hon. Friend and I can do is to beg to differ. I have made it perfectly clear that the increases in Government expenditure which have been approved to date have, in the opinion of the Government, been essential to fulfil the policies which have been repeatedly approved both by our party and by the nation at large.