HC Deb 09 November 1961 vol 648 cc1159-60
Q1. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Prime Minister if the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on economic policy on 28th October at Leicester represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the Prime Minister aware that, according to the report in The Times,the Chancellor said that he had been unable to forecast the extent of the economic problem? Further, is he aware that The Timesreports today, from its correspondent in Geneva, that the international trade report of the G.A.T.T. shows that the British share of the British overseas sterling markets dropped from 62 per cent. in 1950 to 40 per cent. in 1960? Does not this confirm the enormous neglect of the past ten years? Since the Chancellor of the Exchequer admitted some of the blame, will the Prime Minister accept part of the blame for the mistakes that have been made?

The Prime Minister

My right hon. and learned Friend covered this matter very fully in his speech to the House on Tuesday. I should have thought that he showed extreme foresight in his Budget by asking Parliament for additional regulators in case the very severe deflationary effect of a £500 million surplus was not in itself sufficient.

Mr. M. Foot

If the Prime Minister says that the speech made by the Chancellor at Leicester on 28th October did represent the policy of Her Majesty's Government, is it not very fortunate that that speech was reported by the newspapers, even though the Chancellor subsequently said that he had said something quite different?

The Prime Minister

That matter also was dealt with by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr. Paget

Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that the remission of Surtax was another example of foresight?

The Prime Minister

The remission of Surtax does not become effective until next year.