§ Mr. Roy Hattersley (Birmingham, Sparkbrook)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 10, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,the imminent further increase in interest rates.Indeed, the money market rates have increased since Question Time began this afternoon.
The matter which I seek to raise is urgent because real interest rates are already at their highest level in our history, and up to three times higher than the rates in the economies of our major industrial competitors. A further escalation in interest rates will be disastrous for investment and employment, and a catastrophe for mortgage holders, who are already paying the highest real mortgage interest rates ever recorded in Great Britain.
My next point is that the Government are directly responsible for these matters and are answerable for them in the House of Commons. The Government's responsibility for the crisis is not in doubt. First, it is the Government who have made the British economy peculiarly dependent upon the price of oil—the direct trigger for the catastrophe that we now face. Secondly, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his Mansion house speech and later, have both asserted that an artificially high control rate is necessary for monetary control and that they will hold interest rates at whatever level and will escalate interest rates to whatever level is necessary to hold the exchange at the artificial level that is necessary to protect their monetary policy. They have asserted that they will hold interest rates high, regardless of the other consequences for the real economy.
204 Therefore I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, two sentences in summary. The first is that the imminent additional increase in interest rates will be deeply to the detriment of the real economy and the householders of this country. The second is that the imminent increase in real interest rates is a matter which is directly within the responsibility of the Government. Indeed, it has been managed, manipulated and encouraged by the Government. In those circumstances, it is, in my view, essential for the House to debate this issue before the Government's folly does yet more damage to the real economy.
§ Mr. Speaker
The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 10, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have argent consideration, namely,the imminent further increase in interest rates.
The right hon. Member and the whole House know that I am required to take into account the various factors that are set out in Standing Order No. 10. I have listened with great care to what the right hon. Member has said, but I regret that I do not consider the matter that he has raised to be appropriate for discussion under Standing Order No. 10, and I cannot therefore submit his application to the House.
§ Mr. Hattersley
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I understand the many considerations that you have to take into account and what you have described as the many implications of this application. I do not argue with your judgment in any way. I merely say that it will be necessary for the House to examine those many implications when the interest rate goes up tomorrow or the day after.