§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Geoffrey Howe)
The longest Budget speech that I have been able to trace was given by Mr. Gladstone on 18 April 1953—[Interruption.]
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
I am content, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to recognise that, although Liberals have long lives, they do not live that long. The date to which I refer, of course, was 1853. The speech lasted for about 4¾ hours. The then Leader of the Opposition said of the speech:…it was so extensive that it is impossible, without consideration, to weigh its disadvantages and advantages".That could have its merits in certain circumstances. But I can assure the House that I shall not try to rival Mr. Gladstone. Instead, I shall try to follow Disraeli, who delivered a Budget speech in 1867 lasting only 45 minutes. I am afraid that I cannot quite match that; but at least this will be one of the shortest—perhaps the shortest—of my Budget speeches, or at any rate the shortest so far. And that will not be its only attractive feature.
I begin, as last year, by making it clear that I shall today be proposing further significant cuts in the taxes paid both by businesses and by individuals. These proposals will be consistent with our medium-term strategy for effective control of the money supply, for lower public borrowing, and for further progress on inflation.
The requirement we saw, and the country accepted, in 1979, was for resolve, for purpose and for continuity. My proposals in this Budget are rooted in that same resolve, and will maintain that purpose, and that continuity. They are designed to further the living standards and employment opportunities of all our people and to sustain and advance the recovery for which we have laid the foundations.