HC Deb 31 January 1967 vol 740 cc239-40
27. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement of Government policy on proposals to increase the price of gold.

Mr. Callaghan

I would refer the hon. Gentleman to my statement in the House on 17th January.—[Vol. 739, c. 31–4.]

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Whatever reservations I may have about the Chancellor's fiscal policy, I am not unsympathetic to the statement which he made. Will he take this opportunity of telling the House his views on how the London gold market is likely to be affected by today's French abolition of exchange control?

Mr. Callaghan

It is a little early to say, but the London gold market is well established. It serves a valuable purpose recognised widely throughout most countries, and I am sure that it will continue in that way.

Mr. Barnett

Will the Chancellor make it clear that playing about with the price of gold is a poor substitute for a new reserve currency?

Mr. Callaghan

I am happy to say that, once again; I have said it very forcefully in the past, and I have no hesitation in repeating that view.

28. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, following the London meeting of the Group of Ten, there has been any change in the decision to exclude the price of gold from the agenda of the Group's discussions; and what steps the Government has taken to achieve agreement on a contingency plan for credit creation in time for the next annual general meeting of the International Monetary Fund.

Mr. Callaghan

The answer to the first part of the Question is "No Sir". As to the second part, I welcome the progress made so far towards a contingency plan, and shall continue to work for agreement on it.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

I thank the Chancellor for that most informative reply. In regard to his earlier statements about the price of gold, will he agree that they have been contradicted by a number of authoritative views, including those of the President of the Board of Trade? Will he not agree further that in the Group of Ten, the Treasury's traditional technique of hanging on to the coat-tails of the United States Treasury is hardly likely to commend itself to our prospective partners in the Common Market?

Mr. Callaghan

It would be unfortunate if anyone deduced from the hon. Gentleman's remarks that there is any general desire to increase the price of gold. As far as I know, the majority of countries in the European Economic Community are strongly opposed to it.

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