§ 2.49 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO (THE EARL OF DUNDEE)
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Earl of Dundee.)
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, while of course it is recognised that this House has no power of amendment, it does 216 historically enjoy and exercise the privilege of commenting upon Government expenditure. We are asked now to record our assent to a massive Government expenditure which attracted in another place exceptionally long consideration. Certainly had I been able to be here last week perhaps it would have been the right time to have said something. I ask the indulgence of the House for a very brief moment. I was in the North on business of long commitment, and I heard almost universal criticism of the Chancellor's statement. They were braced for, and expecting to receive, severe measures. I do not suggest that the measures decided upon are not severe, but there was a feeling of surprise that the attack that was expected was not more severe land that there should not have been more emphasis on the reduction of Government expenditure.
In the debate that we are facing at the moment we have been told by the Foreign Secretary that we are in a financial crisis. It has been emphasised to us that we should go into these new proposals with strength. It is that which suggests that there should have been more emphasis on Government economy and expenditure. I would make just one particular point. We are told that our U.N.O. commitments comprise a large sum per month, and that a large proportion of the members are not subscribing to their "club". These are items which cause disquiet. It is because of this feeling, widespread in the country, that we should have gone for more sacrifices to make us strong to go into these negotiations, that I ask the indulgence of the House to raise this matter, as we have the privilege to do on this Bill, although of course, like other Members, I give my assent to the Bill.
VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, I hope that we shall not have a debate on the points which Labour Members have been making, about the remission of surtax and the like.
§ On Question, Bill read a Committee negatived.
§ Then, Standing Order No. 41 having been suspended (pursuant to the Resolution of July 13), Bill read 3a, and passed.