HC Deb 02 April 1963 vol 675 cc230-1
26. Mr. Jay

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent he estimates the United Kingdom balance of payments is likely to improve in the next two years as a result of the breakdown of the Brussels negotiations.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Anthony Barber)

I have no reason to think that our balance of payments would have deteriorated in the next two years if the Brussels negotiations had been successful. It follows that I do not look for an improvement as a result of the breakdown.

Mr. Jay

As the National Institute estimated a prospective improvement of between £70 million and £100 million a year, why cannot the Treasury make at least a similar estimate? Is this not the sort of thing the public is entitled to know?

Mr. Barber

Of course, we make our own estimates. I can only tell the right hon. Gentleman that the best estimate we can make is that we did not look for an improvement as a result of the breakdown, bearing in mind that his Question referred specifically—for reasons I can well understand—to the next two years.