HC Deb 29 November 1960 vol 631 c190
23. Mr. Cooper

asked the President of the Board of Trade if, in order to assist forward planning in industry, he will make a statement of his latest intentions concerning hire-purchase restrictions.

Mr. N. Macpherson

I would ask my hon. Friend to refer to the Answer which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman) on this subject on 17th November. While he appreciates my hon. Friend's wish that he should assist forward planning in industry, he does not feel that this is the time to consider making the control of hire-purchase deposits and instalment periods a permanent feature of our economy.

Mr. Cooper

Bearing in mind the violent changes which take place in those industries which are affected by equally violent changes in official policy, would it not be in the national interest that there should be some semi-permament scheme which was mid-way between the extreme of absolute freedom and the present policies?

Mr. Macpherson

I do not know exactly what my hon. Friends means by a semi-permament scheme, but it seems that at the present time the removal of hire-purchase restrictions can be treated as a means of stimulating the economy and it would be undesirable to lose that particular weapon when it is needed.

Mr. Jay

Is the Minister aware that the Government's present policy is causing an ever-widening recession in certain industries without doing any apparent good to the balance of payments? When are we to have a change?

Mr. Macpherson

I am not aware of that, and my right hon. Friend has made it clear that the restrictions will be removed as soon as the economy of the country permits.

Mr. Cooper

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment as soon as possible.