HC Deb 08 July 1969 vol 786 cc1144-5
14. Mr. Maurice Macmillan

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will give figures showing the private basic balance for the years 1958 to 1968, respectively.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

No, Sir. The practical difficulties involved would be disproportionate to the value of the result.

Mr. Macmillan

Is it not more accurate to say that the practical difficulties involved would not be as great if the Chancellor attached the right importance to this factor? The current private balance and the capital private balance taken together over the years have given a massive surplus on private account, indicating that it is Government spending which causes our difficulties. Why does the right hon. Gentleman continue to under-value the great contribution of the private sector to our balance of payments?

Mr. Jenkins

I do not under-value it. But the practical difficulties are very real, particularly on the visible trade account where it would be extremely difficult to distinguish, as is not done at the moment, between imports on private and public account. Even on the invisible trade account, does the hon. Gentleman suggest, for example, that the earnings of the two air corporations should be on public or private account? If on public account, should payments the other way to air companies belonging to other companies be on private account while the other is on public account? There are great complications of this sort. On a more general point—[HON. MEMBERS: "Too long."] Very well. I will leave it to a later Question.