HC Deb 04 March 1965 vol 707 cc1516-7
Q1. Mr. Stratton Mills

asked the Prime Minister whether the statement of the Minister of Housing and Local Government on a British Broadcasting Corporation programme on Tuesday, 19th January, on the subject of Bank Rate, represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the same Question by the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) on 2nd February.

Mr. Stratton Mills

Does not the Prime Minister recall that in this statement some seven weeks ago his right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government said that Bank Rate would be reduced in weeks rather than months? Is he not aware that it is verging on the improper for a Minister who is a member of the Cabinet to comment in such close particular on an alteration in Bank Rate? Why does he not demand the same standards from his own colleagues as he sermonises for in others?

The Prime Minister

I would hope that hon. Members in all parts of the House, when Bank Rate is as high as it is at present, would always hope that it would be down in weeks rather than months.

Mr. Box

As we are now a country living on borrowed money—[Interruption.]—ruled by a Government living on borrowed time—[Interruption.]—will the Prime Minister give an assurance that Bank Rate will not be reduced until satisfactory arrangements have been made to replace the credits that were granted last November in order to shore up our currency?

The Prime Minister

If it is any assurance to the hon. Member, I do not propose to charge him royalties for borrowing two phrases that I used at Norwich at the beginning of last October, both of which were emphatically denied by leaders of the Conservative Party, when I pointed out—[Interruption.]—that they had sadly underestimated statistically the extent to which they then thought we were then living on borrowed money.