HC Deb 21 April 1970 vol 800 cc232-3
25. Mr. Hooky

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why the balancing item in Table 16 of Command Paper No. 4328, which purports to contain only omissions and errors, has grown to so high a proportion of the balance of monetary movements shown in the same table for the years 1967, 1968 and 1969; and if he will provide some more detailed breakdown of the balancing item for these years.

Mr. Diamond

I would refer my hon. Friend to the assessments of the balancing item which have been published in recent issues of Economic Trends.

Mr. Hooley

While I am obliged to my right hon. Friend for that information, may I ask him whether he is aware that such documents on public expenditure as Command Paper No. 4328 are interesting and valuable to Members with no great economic expertise, such as myself, but that we find it curious that what purports to be a balancing figure should be so high a proportion of the figure it is supposed to correct?

Mr. Diamond

I could not accept what my hon. Friend says about his own lack of competence, because he is drawing my attention to a very important figure and enabling me to explain that the figure is not small in relation to the figure with which it should be compared, which is the total turnover on current account, which in 1969 was £22,000 million.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

Does not the Chief Secretary recognise that, when the President of the Board of Trade announced the adjustment of the export figures, the argument was that this would reduce the balancing item adjustment at the end of the year. Yet, as the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) has pointed out, here is nearly as big an adjustment as we have had at any time in the last five years. How can the right hon. Gentleman explain it?

Mr. Diamond

I can explain it by inviting the hon. Gentleman to do what I have already done and look at the full explanation in Economic Trends. He has assumed that there is one element only, but at least four elements enter into the build up. The hon. Gentleman says that this is the biggest adjustment, but neither he nor I could substantiate this view.

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