HC Deb 19 October 1966 vol 734 cc212-3
38. Sir C. Osborne

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will place in the Library his plans for forestalling a return to the conditions of the 1930s, when three million were unemployed; under what conditions will those plans be put into operation; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Crossman

I do not accept that there is an immediate danger of a return to the conditions of the 1930s. The Government intend that the present shake-out, which has been necessitated by the balance of payments position and by the attack on the £, should be used for redeployment into those sectors of the economy on which our long-term prosperity depends. If the shake-out shows signs of going too far, there are plenty of weapons that can be used to expand the economy.

Sir C. Osborne

Since the Minister boasted in a recent speech that he had got such a plan up his sleeve, why cannot the House see it and see what is in it? Secondly, will he tell the House how he will guarantee 5 million jobs to the men employed in the export industries when he cannot make the foreigner buy British?

Mr. Crossman

I would remind the hon. Gentleman of his Question. He asked about a return to the conditions of the 1930s. This is something to which I replied fairly by saying that in my view there is only a very remote danger of this, partly because all nations are now fully forewarned about these dangers and far more ready to prepare against them than they were before the war and—[Interruption.] I should like to be able to answer before the hon. Gentleman disagrees with me—and particularly because this country and this Government are aware of the dangers and have plans ready to meet them.

Mr. Mikardo

On a point of order. May I ask your advice, Mr. Speaker? Would you be good enough to tell the House why it is that plans for forestalling a return to the conditions—presumably the economic conditions—of the 1930s are the responsibility of the Lord President of the Council?

Mr. Speaker

Ministers have to make their own decisions as to which Minister answers each Question.