Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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1951 Oct 18 Th
Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Erith housewives

Document type:public statement
Document kind:Speech
Venue:Electricity Showrooms, Erith, Kent
Source:Dartford Chronicle, 26 October 1951
Journalist:-
Editorial comments:During the day?
Importance ranking:Major
Word count:384
Themes:Agriculture, General Elections, Foreign policy (general discussions), Foreign policy (Middle East), Social security and welfare

MISS ROBERTS WITH HOUSEWIVES

Miss Roberts held a meeting for housewives at the Electricity Showrooms, Erith, on Thursday last week, when she told them that she knew the women of the Division had been bothered about food subsidies, old age pensions and family allowances.

Warning them not to believe the rumours they heard, she said these had been put across for one reason only because the Socialists had no constructive policy to put forward, so they had to fight on some of these absurd fears of what the Tories would do.

She reminded them that when things became difficult at the beginning of the war, Conservatives did not hesitate to introduce a system of fair shares for all. It was not introduced by the Socialists. The moment they got more of the necessary things of life through making more effort to get them the rationing system would be taken off, but as long as there was a need for it it would remain. She commented that there was not sufficient effort being made by the present Government to increase supplies to this country.

On food subsidies, she said the Conservatives had stated quite openly in their policy that as long as the cost of living was as high as it was they would not radically alter the food subsidy system. What they would do would be to use the people of proved and tried ability, who had been handling food all their lives, to go abroad and negotiate for food supplies and, they hoped, get better quality and cheaper prices.

Another rumour was that the Tories would reduce old age pensions or cut them out altogether. That was not true. She pointed out that the Socialists did not introduce old age pensions, but they had cut them, by lowering their value, for 26s. was worth 19s. 6d.

Referring to the rumour that Conservatives were war-mongers, she said they did not want war more than anyone else. Everyone made sacrifices in the last war and did not want to have it again. She failed to see that the feelings of a Conservative mother were any different from those of a Socialist mother.

Over the question of Persia Mr. Morrison had said, "Either we get out of Persia or else go to war." If it had got to such an alternative as peace or war, it was because the handling of the situation was so bad in the initial stages that the foreign policy of the Government had failed entirely.