Skip to main content

Expenditure Arising Out Of The War

Volume 389: debated on Tuesday 25 May 1943

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £1,000,000,000, be granted to His Majesty. towards defraying the expenses which may be incurred during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1944, for general Navy, Army and Air services and supplies in so far as specific provision is not made therefor by Parliament; for securing the public safety, the defence of the realm, the maintenance of public order and the efficient prosecution of the war; for maintaining supplies and services essential to the life of the community; and generally for all expenses beyond those provided for in the ordinary Grants of Parliament arising out of the existence of a state of war."

I would like first to take this opportunity of referring to the passing of the new Mutual Aid Act of the Canadian Government, to which my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister referred in a message which he has recently sent to Mr. Mackenzie King. It is, I need hardly say, and as I will explain a little later, material to this Vote of Credit. This is the first Sitting of the House since the Bill received the Royal Assent and became law, and I am sure that the Committee would not wish this moment to pass without testifying once again the high appreciation of this House, on behalf of all our people, of this further measure of Canada's magnificent assistance to us and to all our friends and Allies united in the common cause. This new contribution on Canada's part makes a substantial difference to the sums which v5e are called upon to find from our own resources for the prosecution of the war. The action which Canada has now taken goes far beyond even the generous gift of 1,000,000,000 dollars in money which Canada gave this country last year. It represents the acceptance by Canada of new financial liabilities of a very large order; it will enable the United Kingdom and other United Nations, which lack Canadian dollars to obtain from Canada the war supplies they need; and it will do this without the accumulation of those war debts between nations which we so much wish to avoid. I feel sure that the Committee will join with me in expressing our gratitude and admiration for these magnanimous and far-reaching measures.

I have to ask the Committee for a further Vote of Credit to meet expenditure on the war. In view of the close proximity of the Budget and the Finance Bill Debates on our general financial policy, I propose to confine my remarks to-day to a very few facts about our Vote of Credit expenditure. The original Vote of 1,000,000,000 for the financial year 1943, passed by the Committee on 26th January last, is likely to be exhausted in 'the early part of next month, and I accordingly now ask for a further sum of £1,000,000,000, which, on the basis of such estimates of the probable rate of expenditure as can be made at present, should suffice to cover expenditure on war services up to about the month.of August, before which time I shall doubtless have to approach the Committee again. When I addressed the Committee in January I explained that our expenditure on war services was then at the rate of about £14,000,000 a day, which figure included £11,000,000 a day on the Fighting and Supply Services. Before the end of the financial year these figures had risen tai something like £15,000,001 and £11,500,000 respectively.

In the present financial year the amounts of the Votes of Credit will be affected by the different arrangement made by the Government of Canada with regard to the generous measure of assist ance which, as I have explained just now, Canada is again giving us. Last year the gift of a billion dollars was a money receipt in our Revenue accounts, and all our expenditure in Canada was included in the charge to the Votes of Credit. This year the Canadian Government are making provision of essential war supplies in kind, and in addition are accepting direct financial liability for the cost of the Royal Canadian Air Force personnel serving overseas, as well as purchasing for cash certain capital assets concerned with production in Canada. Thus, considerably less provision is required in our Votes of Credit for expenditure in Canada, and no provision is required for the Canadian air personnel overseas. ' The effect of these changes is to reduce the totals of the Vote of Credit expenditure below what would otherwise have been necessary. In the new financial year the rate of Vote of Credit expenditure has not so far been affected by the arrangements for Canadian supplies in kind or for meeting the cost of Canadian air personnel, but the net expenditure has been, reduced in recent weeks by the Canadian Government's purchase of the assets to which I have referred. The result is that the average rate of expenditure in the seven or eight weeks since the, beginning of the financial year cannot be regarded as an index of the prospective rate of expenditure over the financial year as a whole.

The rate during this period has in fact been about £13,500,000 a day, of which about £11,000,000 a day has been on the Fighting and Supply Services. But lest anyone should be tempted, despite the special temporary factors I have mentioned, to look on the somewhat lower figures as reflecting some slackening in our war effort, let me remind the Committee that the total Vote of Credit expenditure for which I have 'budgeted in the present financial year is £4,900,000,000. To bring that figure on to a basis comparable with. the Vote of Credit expenditure last year, we must add last year's Canadian Government contribution of £225,000,000, the cost of the Canadian air personnel which we have previously borne, and the amounts which we are receiving in return for the transferred capital assets. Further, as the Committee will remember, the Vote of Credit estimate makes only nominal provision for war damage, whereas the payments actually made were included in last year's Vote of Credit expenditure. Since the realised total of the Vote of Credit expenditure last year was only £4,840,000,000, the Committee will see that this year's Vote of Credit represents a substantially larger provision for the war than last year. As far as actual expenditure in the current financial year is concerned, the position is that at the moment, in view of the new arrangements with Canada which T have just described, we have no common basis of comparison with the daily rate of war expenditure in any previous period. But by the time I have to ask the Committee for the next Vote of Credit I may be able to give some further information of the trend of our current expenditure on the new basis. I would therefore ask the Committee to grant me this further Vote in the hope that I expect I shall be able to give some further particulars on the next occasion.

On a point of order. Might I ask whether we are now passing from consideration of this Measure?

The first thing I should like to do is to associate this side of the Committee with the acknowledgment which the Chancellor has, rightly, made of the magnificent gesture by Canada. I do not think that even on the last occasion we fully appreciated the range and magnitude of this form of assistance. It is only right that those who speak for Parliament and for the British people should recognise it.

I desire to take the opportunity of this new Vote of Credit, which Parliament will no doubt readily grant, to raise one matter. The facility with which the Chancellor has hitherto got his Votes of Credit indicates a general endorsement of his policy. I want now to discuss a phase of our 'financial policy, namely, the stabilisation of prices. I make no apology for doing so, because the Chancellor himself emphasised in his Budget Statement the importance of the matter. He said:
"In the forefront of the measures which we have taken during the war to remove the threat of inflation is cur policy of stabilisation of prices. It has wide significance, and it involves a considerable annual charge upon the Exchequer. In my Budget speech of April, 1941, I undertook to hold the cost-of-living index number, apart from minor seasonal changes, within the range of 125 to 130 in term: of the pre-war level. That endeavour has been rewarded with a full measure of success."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th April, 1943; col. 952, Vol. 388.]
That applies to the stabilisation of food prices. I think the Chancellor can claim a full measure of success for that policy. In the Debate on the Ministry of Food Estimates the other day, I expressed appreciation of the value of the food subsidies, pointing out the immense and favourable repercussions that that policy was having on the whole of our war effort. I reminded the Committee that a pound each of six primary commodities, butter, margarine, lard, bacon, cheese, and sugar, cost 7s. 11¾ld. in 1917, and only 6s. 2d. in May, 1943, showing a total saving of Is. 9¾c1. on a pound of each of these six commodities alone. That is an outstanding justification for subsidising as a method of controlling food prices. In this policy of stabilisation, however, it is not possible to follow the method Of subsidy to any extensive degree, although with regard to basic food supplies, it is, in my view, quite unsound in war time for the Government to follow other methods.

Later we see a further working-out of this policy in the development of utility lines. I submit that the Government policy has not been pursued with the same vigour, and has not met with the same success, in regard to general price and commodity controls as it has in. the case of subsidies. I would press for an extension of the policy of developing utility lines. While the retail index is suitable for food, it is not, in my view, fool-proof in respect of the general range of goods. I do not say at this stage that the Chancellor has been inaccurate, but I want to query a subsequent statement of his, that,
"apart from price increases deliberately brought about. by higher indirect taxes, the whole volume of consumption goods and services, including luxury goods and other non-necessaries, has not risen in price by more than 36 per cent."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, 12th April, 1943; col. 952, Vol. 388.]
Everyday experience does not bear out that statistical assertion. It is ail very well to use statistics, but the average housewife could proceed, and rightly, from her own experience. Let me state the price of clothing. I want the Chancellor, if he will, to note these figures. By 1st January, 1942, the price and general index figure of clothing had reached 93 per cent. above that for 1st September, 1939. The policy of utility lines was developed by the Government three years after the war started. That shows how slowly the stabilisation policy has been followed, in this direction, in contrast to the promptitude with which subsidies were _applied. It is interesting to note that it was not until utility lines were introduced that the general level of clothing prices began to fall. Now they have declined to 70 per cent. above September, 1939. If you take the other general lines of consumption goods, they were 30 per cent. above September, 1939, on 1st January, 1942, and they are now 50 per cent: above. This is the real issue that the country has to face in regard to this problem of stabilisation. Stabilising food prices at 20 per cent. above those for September, 1939, permits of a continuation of that figure after the war. If one reflects, one can see the immense advantage of stabilising food prices at their present levels, in framing our post-war agricultural policy, if we do not have to pass through a period of deflation with regard to food supplies.

When we turn from food supplies to general consumer goods, the point here that I desire to make is that the importance—I really wish that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not be absorbed while I am presenting an argument of some substance—of this general range of consumer goods is reflected in respect that it is to' this class of goods coming into normal manufacture that we shall look for the absorption of a considerable proportion of our demobilised labour from the Services, the Civil Defence services and from war production. If the prices of this general range of goods are higher than is necessary—and I claim that 78 per cent. is too high for a certain range of goods, and I shall point out that others are still higher—just at the time when we want stability of prices to develop maximum production, we shall have uncertainty if we have to face a deflation period. The Government are the largest buyers of goods in this country to-day, and therefore we need to keep prices stable, because it is of advantage in our current war expenditure. If we get an accumulative advantage from the stabilisation of prices in war-time, it will give us security and stabilisation when we move from war to peace production.

I have already asserted that, in my view, the prices of clothing and general merchandise have been allowed to reach too high a level. There are statistics, but I want to quote some figures taken by an Oxford test—the Oxford Bulletin of Statistics—to show that, when one applies a test to retail establishments, the figures are much higher than the percentages which I have given, and which again are double those of the Chancellor. This test carried out in Oxford, taking the figure of 100 per cent., in 1938, showed that clothing and footwear had reached 168 per cent. in 1943, furniture 250 per cent., household textiles 265 per cent., hardware and household stores 185 per cent., leather and travel goods 185 per cent., fancy goods 185 per cent., and drugs and toilet goods 156 per cent.

Can the hon. Gentleman help us by giving the range of that test?

The goods there cover practically every form of domestic, household and furnishing equipment.

It is taken in Oxford, but it is no use suggesting that Oxford is not a sound test in this respect, because I am prepared to give another test. Here is an interesting comparison of prices made by the Council for Art and Industry. In 1937 it gave the cost of completely equipping a working-class home, and the estimate for 1936 was £52 10S. 4d. If you took that same range of goods for equipping the same type of house in 1942, it would cost £167 11S. 10d. If you took off the Purchase Tax in that range of goods, it would mean a reduction of £31 3s. 2d., leaving the comparative cost in 1942 £136 8s. 8d. as against £52 10s. 4d. before the war. If you take the ordinary simple daily test and you try to buy a tin kettle to-day which used to cost 6½d. and 10½d. for a two or four pint kettle respectively, you will have to pay 1S. 7d., 1S. 9d., or 2s. or 2s. 6d—you find the prices vary very considerably in different shops. If you take the ordinary scrubbing brush which the housewife uses in her home for which she used to pay 8½d. or 10d., she will now have to pay 1s. 11d., 25. or 2s. 6d. My contention is that there is no similar control of prices; that the machinery of price control on this range of goods is not working as effectively as it might do. The interesting thing is that, if you study this very wide range of goods, the introduction of the utility lines marks the first occasion upon which the general rise of prices was arrested.

The introduction of utility lines is having the same effect on this range of goods as the subsidy on the basic lines of food. Directly we follow the policy of subsidising the major basic food items it exercises the same influence on the whole range of food supplies, although the whole range is not subject to the subsidy policy. Since utility lines have been introduced the same influence has been observable with regard to dry goods and hardware and similar things. That is a definite advantage. I am not inexperienced enough to suggest to the Chancellor that the utility principle could be introduced over the whole of this very wide range of goods, but it could be extended much more than it has been. The whole policy was 'too slow; prices were allowed to rise to a high artificial level before it was introduced. We already have the evidence that after a few lines had been covered, it exercised a moderating and declining influence on prices. Therefore, before I leave this' subject, I want to urge upon the consideration of the Chancellor, who fully accepts the policy of stabilisation and has stated that to be his policy, the need for the picking-out of a number of additional articles that exercise a good influence on prices generally and the extension of utility lines to cover the position as much as possible.

Is it not the case that prices of unrationed or uncontrolled goods have risen very largely owing to the scarcity of labour? How is it possible to control the prices of these goods unless by a complete Order of control and unless at the same time we either supply labour or control prices?

There is price control running through all these articles, hut it is impossible, in view of the present position, to exercise proper supervision over these prices. Therefore when one is faced with a situation of that character it is desirable to look to experience to see what factors operate normally in all industry to hold prices to a reasonable figure. When one observes this factor and discovers that the subsidy in respect of certain basic food supplies has had a more arresting influence than your general price legislation, and when you find that since utility lines have been introduced the tendency of prices for this range of goods has been to remain stable, and to some extent to decline, whereas previously they had been steadily mounting, it is worth while Parliament giving attention to these matters in so far as we cannot hope to establish an extensive inspectorate to see that breaches of price regulations are not taking place.

The third phase of policy on which, it appears to me, the Government are depending to secure some form of stabilisation is the exercise of the machinery of their commodity control. As regards the general distribution of goods, we have subsidies, utility production and price control. When it comes to the more important materials of industry the Government fall back on their commodity control machinery. I put this definite point to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Do the Treasury and the Government suggest that their own commodity control as regards both the acquisition and the pricing of material, the machinery with which they operate prices and releases to the trade, is working efficiently? It is very difficult to justify the prices of materials released by some of the commodity controls.

I take timber as an illustration, and I can give only one illustration, because I understand there is a desire that this,Debate should not occupy too much time. The price of super beech in 1938 was 3½, a foot. The price fixed by the Timber Control is 9⅝d. an increase of 175 per cent. The question of the difficulty of importation has, in my view, nothing to do with it. We are doing without the timber that we cannot import, and I submit that there is no justification for an increase in price of this description. Super American oak was 4d. a foot in 1938, and the control price is 1s. 1⁝d. Admittedly this has to be brought from America. but surely there are international arrangements by which space can be found for cargoes which are necessary, and if a cargo is necessary, it is not desirable that prices should be increased to such an extent. A standard of deal in 1938 cost £16 15s. The price fixed by the Timber Control is £47 7s. 6d., an in- crease of 182 per cent. Birch ply in 1938 was 7s., and the price fixed by the Timber Control is 34s. to 36s., an increase of 385 per cent.

Here we have a Government machine which ought to be able to exercise complete control over prices, apart from any natural or inevitable increases resulting from the war. Follow the effect of this through industry. It is impossible to get timber to-day except for essential work. Nearly all of it goes on Government account, and therefore increases of this kind permitted by the Timber Control are added to the cost at every stage of production. In the case of utility furniture, for instance, you are faced with the position that the timber must come from the Timber Control; the wholesaler has his margin, and the retailers have their margin, and if you start off with a highly priced raw material, your wholesale proportion, your manufacturing proportion, your retail proportion are subject to the cumulative effect.

Therefore, I submit that from the standpoint of national economy, and having regard to post-war reconstruction, the policy which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has stated to be the official policy of the Government, namely, stabilisation of prices, is not being pursued as thoroughly or as efficiently as it could be. I have raised this discussion for the purpose of getting over one or two points in that connection. I regret that I have had to do so rather hurriedly and that I have not had time to support my remarks by the evidence which I should otherwise have wished to bring forward. I have however curtailed my remarks to meet the convenience of the right hon. Gentleman, and I hope that he, in return, will re-emphasise his policy and give an assurance that it will be pursued more vigorously and more efficiently in the future.

My hon. Friend the Member for East Ham South (Mr. Barnes) will forgive me if I refrain from making any comments upon the interesting and important argument which he has just presented to the Committee. We are now in the midst of the discussions on our financial arrangements for the year, and you, Mr. Williams, have already been good enough to afford me an opportunity of speaking on some aspects of our financial position, and I would not have intervened on this occasion did I not feel bound, in few but none the less sincere words, to associate my hon. and right hon. Friends who sit on these benches with what the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said regarding the passage of the Mutual Aid Act through the Canadian Parliament. This is indeed a remarkable action by the Canadian Legislature. The conception of Lend-Lease which owes so much to President Roosevelt, and now this great act by the Canadian nation, which will be of the utmost practical value to us, seem to me to indicate the opening of a new era in international finance.

We have reached a stage in the war when it is our duty to devote such time and attention as we can divert from the immediate prosecution of the war, to the consideration of the arrangements to be made after the war. We want to ensure the continuance, in the difficult financial times which will follow the war, of that unity of purpose which is to-day bringing us steadily nearer victory over our enemies. It is not the actual size or magnificence of this transaction, great as it is, which is most remarkable. I think- the most remarkable thing about it is that it should have been done at all. As I say, it is the indication of a new era, and I rejoice that it should be so. The financial and economic transactions of Lend-Lease and the Mutual Aid Act which our Canadian brethren have passed are signs of that higher standard of conduct in international finance which we shall have to maintain if the world is to be made a place fit for human habitation.

At' the outset, may I briefly associate myself with what has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for East Birkenhead {Mr. Graham White) about the action of the Canadian Government? I only hope that they are not as misled as the Chancellor of the Exchequer is, by the bogus money which is being created, and it is in order to make a protest on that particular aspect of this Vote of Credit that I rise to address the Committee. It is not because I am annoyed with my right hon. Friend for his quips at me during Question time. I can take it, and I may add that I think I can, on this occasion, return it with interest. But I am bound to make this remark to my right hon. Friend, that from the studied expressions of amusement which I observed in the Gallery at the side it seemed to me that some of his supplementary retorts were inspired, and I desire first to make a protest on a particular point—one which I have made before. I greatly regret, as I am sure other hon. and right hon. Gentlemen also regret, the ever-increasing habit of Ministers reading their speeches, and I look forward to the day when I shall be able to send my right hon. Friend a bouquet—

The hon. Member has already wandered round at least two subjects which are out of Order. I hope he will now proceed to deal with the Vote of Credit.

I want to move the rejection of this Vote of Credit, and I want the Committee to be fully apprised of why I take that view. I do not want the Chancellor of the Exchequer to be too much hurt by what I say, and I was merely remarking that I would like to be able to send him a bouquet, if and when he gives me occasion to do so. There seems to me to be no sense whatever in voting money to a Government when it would appear that the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not know where his money is coming from.

I am not discussing where it actually comes from, but I am contending that the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not know where it comes from.

We cannot discuss whether the right hon. Gentleman knows or does not know where it comes from.

It is surely in Order when we are discussing a Vote of Credit for £1,000,000,000 to point out that the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not really know what the money is. I put that to the Chancellor—as I have done on previous occasions when he has not seen fit to answer me, not because his Department did not know, but because they.did not want to tell the truth£that he, as the responsible authority, should tell the House how much of the money he borrows is bank-created money.

That is just the point we cannot discuss just now; we can only discuss how the money is spent.

I do not know quite how to put this, but my point is that the Chancellor does not know what money is. However, I suppose I shall have to sit down without developing my argument and reserve my words of wisdom for a future occasion [Laughter]. It is all very well for the Chancellor to laugh. My historical recollection is that Departments only do that when they are in a jam—

If the hon. Member does not know how to put his case, that is no reason for giving a general lecture on matters which have nothing to do with this Vote of Credit.

Then I must conclude my remarks. It seems to me a matter of concern that this Committee should be asked to vote £1,000,000,000 when the Chancellor does not know what money is. Perhaps I may emphasise this point. We have heard a great deal lately about unconditional surrender. I want to say to the Chancellor that unless he achieves unconditional surrender of privately controlled money power, we shall never get the peace we want.

I think I had better pass over the speech of the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) in case I, too, am ruled out of Order. First of all, I would like to thank the Committee for the references they have made to our financial administration. In particular, I appreciate the observations of the hon. Member for East Ham South (Mr. Barnes). I would not have expected the Committee to do otherwise than associate itself with my remarks concerning the generous help we have had from our Canadian friends. I have no doubt that reports of this Debate will appear in Canada, so that our friends there can see how much we appreciate what they have done and are doing. I wish the hon. Member for East Ham South had had a little more time to develop the case he put forward, because he is an authority on that subject, which is one well worth our deliberation and consideration. He did, however, have time to put forward some part of his case to-day, and while in view of our other Business I do not wish to trespass on the time of the Committee, I would like to make one or two observations on what he said and to tell him that I will carefully study the points he has raised and communicate with him later, if I may.

I would like to give some explanation to the Committee about the figure of 36 per cent. which is in the White Paper. That figure relates to the average increase in aggregate retail prices which has taken place since the outbreak of war, excluding the effects of indirect taxes and subsidies. The figure is an average for the calendar year 1942, during which period the average of the Ministry of Labour's cost-of-living index was 29 per cent. above pre-war level. I want to make it quite clear why these two figures are different. The reason is, as was pointed out in the White Paper, that the two figures measure different things. The cost-of-living index measures the increase in the cost of buying a fixed collection of goods, based on samples of working-class consumption, and for the most part this collection of goods consists of what may be termed the necessities of life. The figure in the White Paper covers all classes of goods, not by any means confined to necessities, and relates to practically the whole of the aggregate personal expenditure of the community; it is not confined to any particular budget of consumption.

In addition to this difference in the basis of comparison, the White Paper excludes the effects of indirect taxation and subsidies, the result being to give an indication of the aggregate movement of retail prices which has taken place apart from the deliberate action of Government policy in the spheres of taxation and subsidies. The stabilisation policy, which operates by means of subsidies, has, of course, been to a large extent concentrated in the field of the most essential goods, with which the cost-of-living index figure is chiefly concerned. I think the hon. Member for East Ham South will agree that that was the right thing to do and a good concentration to take. Naturally, the cost-of-living index, which reflects the stabilisation and subsidy policy, shows a lower price increase since the beginning of the war than the White Paper figure, which has regard to the total collection of all -L-Asses of consumption over the community as a whole. As I said in my Budget speech, I think that when regard is paid to these factors the rise of 36 per cent. over the whole field, apart from taxes and subsidies, is in an appropriate relationship 'co the cost-of-living index. The hon. Member, with his usual fairness, expressed appreciation of the Government's policy in the field of foodstuffs, but he said that he did not think that we had been so successful in another class of goods, particularly those which come within the sphere of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade. It is quite true that food prices have risen less than those of most other goods and services, but we must not forget rents, which have not risen at all.

I am quite ready to admit that when the Government first embarked on the great new experiment of our stabilisation policy two years ago we concentrated our efforts at first in the field of food, and I do not think anybody will quarrel on that account. Quite clearly the first and most important thing to do was to try and stabilise the prices of those staple articles of food which appear week by week on every housewife's shopping list and on which there must be steady, uninterrupted, weekly expenditure. Nevertheless, since then a great deal has been done to extend the stabilisation policy over an even wider field. I will give these instances. Clothing prices have now been successfully stabilised and in the case of utility clothing have even been reduced. I think everyone has praise for the exceedingly good value for money represented by utility clothes for which the President of the Board of Trade is responsible, and which he has done so much to make successful. Of course, this has been assisted by the exemption of utility clothes from Purchase Tax, and this has been followed by similar exemptions in respect, first, of utility furniture and now, as I announced in my Budget speech, of the various forms of household textiles. Some 80 per cent. of all the clothing that is now produced is utility clothing and is thus exempt from tax. In the case of furniture 100 per cent. of current production, excepting only certain old stocks now being worked off, is utility furniture and is also exempt from Purchase Tax. When you take this very wide range of things—food, clothing, furniture and so on, I think we have gone a very long way to meet the objects my hon. Friend has in mind by means of a properly co-ordinated policy of stabilisation and price control, coupled with the exemptions from Purchase Tax in relation to the various classes that I have mentioned. I will take note of what the hon. Member has said and carefully study the suggestions he has made and, if necessary, confer with the President of the Board of Trade concerning them. I hope he will feel that, taking the policy as a whole, and all that we have done during the year. there is a substantial amount to the credit of the policy introduced some time ago. I regard this as one of the main features of our finance introduced during the war. It is true that it is costing a large sum of money—£180,000,000—but I think it has met with a full measure of success and has certainly done a great deal to help the great body of people, particularly those with small fixed incomes, whose case must be very much in our mind at present.

Yes, I will look into that. I thank the hon. Member for his useful and informative speech, and I will certainly take into account all that he has said and study it.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolved:

"That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £1,000,000,000, be granted to His Majesty, towards defraying the expenses which may be incurred during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1944, for general Navy, Army and Air services and supplies in so far as specific provision is not made therefor by Parliament; for securing the public safety, the defence of the realm, the maintenance of public order and the efficient prosecution of the war; for maintaining supplies and services essential to the life of the community; and generally for all expenses, beyond those provided for in the ordinary Grants of Parliament, arising out of the existence of a state of war."

Resolution to be reported upon the next Sitting Day; Committee to sit again upon the next Sitting Day.