HC Deb 01 April 1969 vol 781 cc216-7
22. Mr. Barnett

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the overall balance of payments surplus to be achieved in 1969; and what is his estimate for the following five years.

Mr. Harold Lever

I advise my hon. Friend to wait for my right hon. Friend's Budget speech.

Mr. Barnett

Does that mean that the Chancellor is changing his policy and is no longer going for a £500 million target for the foreseeable future? Would not this be the best thing to do in so far as it does not particularly help us or the expansion of world trade to pursue that sort of unattainable target?

Mr. Lever

My hon. Friend obviously does not wish to accept my advice. I imagine that he will find my right hon. Friend's speech on this subject more rewarding that he would find a brief answer from me to a supplementary question.

Mr. Ian Lloyd

Why is the Financial Secretary prepared to lend the vestigial authority of his office to these wholly spurious and bogus forecasts of events over which the Government have had no control for some years and over which they are likely to have even less control in the future?

Mr. Lever

I have always been careful not to lend even my vestigial authority to bogus forecasts.