HC Deb 17 November 1960 vol 630 cc534-5
17. Mr. F. Noel-Baker

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will present a White Paper dealing with public investment in private industry, in order to supplement and complete the information contained in Command Paper No. 1203.

Sir E. Boyle

I refer the hon. Member to what my right hon. and learned Friend said in the debate on 10th November, 1960. He is considering the most convenient time to publish this information.

Mr. Noel-Baker

It appears that the hon. Gentleman is putting a rather different interpretation on the words of his right hon. and learned Friend from what we did. We understood his reply to be entirely negative. I am glad to see the Financial Secretary apparently indicating dissent from my last remark. Failing the provision of such information, are not the House and the taxpayers left with an enormous gap in not being given adequate information about the many millions of pounds which are being spent to support the development of private firms and private so-called enterprise?

Sir E. Boyle

My right hon. and learned Friend was not negative at all. My right hon. and learned Friend said: I think that it is right that I should try to provide particulars of that information, and I will do that at a convenient time. I just wanted to consider, from that point of view, what time would be most convenient to the House. …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th November, 1960; Vol. 629, c. 1344.] That is still my right hon. and learned Friend's point of view.

Mr. H. Wilson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that when we pressed his right hon. and learned Friend on this it did not seem clear that he was going to do it? We are grateful to the hon. Gentleman for what he has said. When the matter was raised by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) in the long watches of the night during the Finance Bill, the Opposition pressed for a comparable White Paper. The Chancellor said that he would like to know the views of the House on how the information should be presented? What we would suggest would be a White Paper comparable in all ways with the White Paper on Public Expenditure.

Sir E. Boyle

I take note of what the right hon. Gentleman has said. My right hon. and learned Friend is still considering both the timing and the form which will be most convenient and most suitable to the House.