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Economic Situation

Volume 446: debated on Tuesday 27 January 1948

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asked the Prime Minister if the Chancellor of the Exchequer's recent statement that food and clothing cuts would be inevitable unless exports for 1948 were 70 per cent. higher than for 1947 represents the policy of His Majesty's Government; and what new steps he proposes to take to make the nation aware of its desperate economic position.

I am not aware that my right hon. Friend made the statement attributed to him. He has, however, said recently that unless increased recruitment to the textile industries continues, and leads to greater production in those industries, the home clothing ration will be endangered, and that increased home agricultural production is essential to reduce our dependence upon imports from hard currency countries. The Government proposes to continue to take all necessary steps to put the economic situation plainly before the nation.

Is not the Prime Minister aware that the Chancellor of the Exchequer also referred to the workers' rations and said that they were likely to be reduced, in his statement of 8th January? It is in the "Daily Telegraph." And is he not aware that a great many members of the public regard the economic crisis as phoney, and that he will not get his ten per cent. increased production until they realise the seriousness of the position?