HC Deb 22 July 1965 vol 716 cc1816-7
11. Mr. Awdry

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs when he proposes to publish the national economic plan; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. George Brown

I have nothing to add to the Answer given on 15th July by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the Question by the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. Kenneth Lewis).

Mr. Awdry

Does the First Secretary of State agree that this plan is not so much a plan as an exercise in guesswork? When he does publish his plan, will he also publish the sanctions which he thinks the Government will have to take to implement it?

Mr. Brown

Before the hon. Gentleman makes up his mind about the plan, perhaps he would wait to see it.

Sir C. Osborne

Whilst wishing the Minister well—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—which is more than half his half-witted hon. Friends do, may I ask him this? Is he aware that today's tape contains the most serious bit of information, namely, that for the first time for many years in July there is an increase in unemployment? Does not this foreshadow a very serious crisis? Will his plan meet that?

Mr. Brown

Considering how much pressure I get from hon. Members opposite that unemployment ought to rise, I find that a rather remarkable supplementary question. The hon. Gentleman is falling below his normal standard. I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) should have groaned so loudly when the hon. Gentleman rose.

Mr. Ogden

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of a report in today's issue of the Sun which claims that when the national economic plan is published in September of this year, if I may quote—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] The article explains that the target which some hon. Members on this side have been expecting for coal production is to be greatly reduced. Would my right hon. Friend take note of this statement and consider whether it would be wise to made a statement concerning this issue, which is causing great concern on this side of the House?

Mr. Speaker

I admire the hon. Gentleman's ingenuity, but it all adds up to a request to the Minister to confirm or deny something in a newspaper, which is out of order.

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