HC Deb 11 February 1954 vol 523 cc1350-1
31. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the loss of trade which he estimates would arise as a result of convertibility from the switching of orders to dollar sources in the sterling area and outside the sterling area, respectively.

Mr. Maudling

I cannot make such an estimate, and there may be no such loss. It depends on how competitive we are at the time. Already over much of the field we face full competition with dollar suppliers.

Mr. Shepherd

Does not my hon. Friend think that a calculation of the losses that will be so suffered ought to be made before any decision about convertibility is reached?

Mr. Maudling

That is certainly a point, but I think the hon. Gentleman is in error in assuming that there will be such losses. Our position vis-a-vis the dollar competitors in the world market has improved greatly as my hon. Friend can see from the recent sterling quotations.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it would help convertibility if we bought less wheat from the United States and more from Australia?

Mr. Maudling

I am grateful for the hon. and gallant Gentleman's support for convertibility but I cannot agree with his methods.