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Employment (Govern-Ment Policy)

Volume 464: debated on Monday 9 May 1949

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what specific plans for stimulating consumer demand and maintaining full employment are being prepared by the Government in case there is a trade recession in the autumn of this year.

I would refer the hon. Member to what was said on this subject by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the course of his Budget speech. I am sending him a copy of the relevant extract.

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that in that speech there is no indication, as far as I remember, of any specific plans which are being prepared to deal with a possible recession, and that the knowledge that such plans did exist would play a very large part in preventing the building up of a psychological atmossphere which might lead to a slump?

All sorts of specific plans do exist, but I do not think anything is to be gained by naming them until we know the type of recession, if any, with which we are faced.

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that our reserves have fallen so low during the life of this Government that it will be impossible to maintain employment by stimulating home demand, because we shall not be able to get the raw materials with which to do it?

If the hon. Gentleman is thinking of our gold and dollar reserves, we have fulfilled our policy of holding them level at the point at which they stood when the Marshall Aid period began.

Is the hon. Member aware of the enormous amount of latent consumer energy in our economy which is entirely masked by high taxation?