§ Considered in Committee.
§ [Major MILNER in the Chair]
§ 3.30 p.m.
§ Sir Waldron Smithers (Orpington)
I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
I take this action as the strongest protest I can make against the action of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his evasion, and his unwillingness to give the information required for an appropriate discussion, on the Committee stage of the Finance Bill. Since September, 1944, on three occasions I have raised the question of increasing expenditure in connection with the service of the war. I propose to read the terms of the Question which I have put, and the only reason I know for not answering it, is the argument that it is not in the public interest. I contend that my Question was in the public interest, though it may not have been in the interest of the Government. After repeated demands to have these figures I put down a Question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in these terms:if he will give in tabular form the cost of the social services or the services in connection with the progress of the war at the latest available date and an estimate of the cost of the new social insurance proposals—the pensions for this war, the long-term and short-term housing policy, health, education and analogous services."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Wednesday, 21st November, 1945; Vol. 416,c. 547.]
§ The Chairman (Major Milner)
I cannot accept the hon. Member's Motion. As I understand his complaint, he wants some particulars of expenditure actual or estimated. This, of course, is a matter that might be raised on the Budget Resolution, or on the Report stage, or on the Second Reading of the Finance Bill. In my view, the Committee is now met to discuss Clauses which relate not to expenditure but to taxation and revenue, and, therefore, I am quite unable to accept the Motion or to permit the matter to be further discussed.
§ Sir W. Smithers
How can we logically or seriously consider taxation, if we do not know what the expenditure already 1091 passed, or envisaged in the proposals of the Government is? It makes the Debate this afternoon complete nonsense.
§ The Chairman
That may or may not be so, but the hon. Member has other opportunities of raising this question and cannot expect to do so now.