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Volume 981: debated on Wednesday 26 March 1980

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In the decade that lies ahead Britain has the opportunity to follow a more hopeful path. We have ended the 1970s with a society that is becoming less tolerant because we live with an economy that has been growing no richer. The 1980s can be very different.

The disappointments of the last decade spring from illusions that have persisted too long; the illusion that we can pay ourselves what we have not earned; the illusion that Governments may go on borrowing when they dare not tax; and, most foolish of all, the illusion that we can somehow strike our way to higher living standards. The essential condition for success in the 1980s is that we should turn our back on those illusions and that we should have the courage over a period of year to carry through the realistic policies to which there is no alternative.

In this Budget I have tried to set those policies in a strategy for the medium term. Nothing will be easy in the years immediately ahead, but beyond that the strategy offers hope of real success. It is a strategy for the defeat of inflation by the re-establishment of monetary control. It is a strategy for the restoration of prosperity by the encouragement of enterprise.

Politics is not only the art of the possible; it is also the art of the necessary. The strategy outlined in this Budget is designed to do what is necessary and so lay foundations for the success which is well within the grasp of the British people.

Order. Under Standing Order No. 94 the first motion, entitled "Provisional Collection of Taxes" must be decided without debate. When the matter has been disposed of, I shall call the Chancellor of the Exchequer to move the motion entitled "Amendment of the Law". It is on that motion that the Budget debate will take place today and on succeeding days. The remaining motions will not be put until the end of the Budget debate next week and they will then be decided without debate.