HC Deb 06 November 1968 vol 772 c875
23. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will cease the practice of publishing the trade figures every month.

Mr. Dell

No, Sir. The monthly figures provide essential information.

Mrs. Short

Would not my hon. Friend agree that some of the difficulties the pound has run into of late can be traced to this neurotic preoccupation with the monthly trade figures? Is it not the case that no other country publishes trade information in the form we make ours available to friend and foe alike? Does not my hon. Friend think we should publish the trade figures less frequently?

Mr. Dell

I think that we must publish the figures monthly. Our major trading competitors publish theirs monthly. I believe that people increasingly understand that one should not rely on a single month's figures for trade and that they will understand this even more when they observe the continuing favourable trend in our balance of payments.

Mr. Stratton Mills

Would not the proposal put by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Short) have the effect of stopping the Prime Minister talking of economic miracles?

Mr. Dell

It is perhaps disturbing to the hon. Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Stratton Mills), who no doubt will find many opportunities for such remarks, that our trading position is greatly improving. I am sure that it is the wish of the House in general that it should continue to do so.

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