HC Deb 12 December 1967 vol 756 cc190-1
18. Mr. John Smith

asked the Minister of Power what is expected to be the percentage increase in oil prices due to devaluation; and by how much he expects this will increase the price of a gallon of petrol.

Mr. Marsh

I have not yet completed my examination of the effects of devaluation on oil prices.

Mr. Smith

How does the prospective increase—for increase there will be—in the price of a gallon of petrol square with the Prime Minister's statement of 19th November that the pound in one's pocket or purse has not been devalued?

Mr. Marsh

I think that the hon. Gentleman is trying too hard. The point is, as I explained at the beginning, that we have not yet agreed on an increase in price for oil. Neither have we agreed on what is the effect of devaluation. I think, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman should have kept that supplementary question for a future date when I may be able to give him some of the reasons.

Mr. Ridley

As the point of devaluation is to increase the prices of imported raw materials, will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that he will not hold them down at the expense of the oil companies' profits for political reasons?

Mr. Marsh

I recognise that the hon. Gentleman's withers are wrung at the prospect of the oil companies' own problems. However, there is a national problem as well, and my responsibility is to look after that.