HC Deb 19 March 1968 vol 761 c258

To sum up, then, on the external position: we are still in a position of great difficulty, but also of great opportunity. We cannot right the balance or seize the whole advantage of the opportunity all at once. We are still likely to be in deficit in the first half of this year, but on present prospects for world trade and given the restoration of stability to the international monetary situation I certainly hope and expect that we shall be in surplus in the second half. For the future we need, as I have said, to achieve a continuing balance of payments surplus of the order of £500 million a year as soon as we can and to sustain it for as far ahead as we can see, so that we can repay our debts, rebuild our reserves and develop our economy.