HC Deb 19 February 1953 vol 511 cc1439-41
39. Mr. Edelman

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of Britain's favourable balance of trade with France, he will raise the holiday allowance to that country.

Mr. Maudling

Apart from the difficulty of discriminating in favour of a particular country, we are, of course, concerned with our balance of payments with the European Payments Union as a whole. We still owe a very large debt to the Union. However, as stated in the communiqué issued on 13th February, we shall give sympathetic consideration to the position of France when we are considering our future arrangements in these matters.

Mr. Edelman

Will the hon. Gentleman urge the Chancellor to come to a decision as soon as possible, as in the meantime machine tool exports are having great difficulty in getting sterling allocations from France and this is hitting very hard certain firms in the Midlands?

Mr. Maudling

I can assure the hon. Member that my right hon. Friend is very much aware of the importance of these trade difficulties in regard to France.

Brigadier Prior-Palmer

Will my hon. Friend urge the Chancellor to reconsider his decision in regard to children and young people, as it is so much more important that they should go abroad?

Mr. Maudling

That is a rather different point, but I am sure that my right hon. Friend will take note of what my hon. and gallant Friend has said.

Mr. H. Morrison

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are rumours about to the effect that the Government are going to relax the present restriction, and the sooner this matter is cleared up the better it will be, so that people can either be put out of their misery or continue in it?

Mr. Maudling

There are always many rumours about and I am surprised that the right hon. Member should base a supplementary question on such a flimsy ground.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

In view of Press reports, may I ask that if any changes are to be made later in the summer the Government will have in mind that those changes should be made in time to cater for full-scale holiday traffic?

Mr. Maudling

Whilst emphasising that Press reports in these matters should not be taken as gospel, I will ask my right hon. Friend to bear that matter in mind.